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Robert Weinheimer*
ORAC INTL LLC, Maricopa, Arizona
e-mail: weinheimer@orbitelcom.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-weinheimer-baa78410/
ABSTRACT
THE USE OF THERMOBARIC WEAPONS
Kristian Oskar Vuorio, Cadet
DEFENSE UNIVERSITY
(A LANGUAGE TRANSLATION FROM FINNISH TO ENGLISH)
FINNISH DOWNLOAD: https://www.doria.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/119929/Vuorio_KO.pdf?sequence=2
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Robert Weinheimer, CEO-Veteran/Owner at ORAC INTL, LLC, weinheimer@orbitelcom.com
ORAC INTL, LLC (ORAC)
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1. Pagination has changed from 38 pages to 39 with the inclusion of the foreword.
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3. Different online translators were not consistent in translating the same Finnish language
words and phrases.
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DEFENSE UNIVERSITY:
Use of Thermobaric Weapons
Bachelor's thesis
Cadet: Kristian Oskar Vuorio
99. The Cadet Course
Army Combat Line
Subject to which the work is related: Military Technology
Repository: Course Library (MPKK Library)
Time: March 2015
SUMMARY
The study deals with the principles of thermobaric weapons as well as their uses
(applications). The research method is a literature study and the perspective is technical war. The
goal has been to form a clear picture for the reader how thermobaric weapons cause damage and
how to use different current versions and to minimize their impact. The study deals only with the
thermobaric weapons used by the United States and Russian infantry.
This topic has previously been examined by the (Finland) Defense Forces in individual research
reports which focused on handling weapon technology largely from a physical point of view and
the phases of the development of the technology and their applications. The use of thermobaric
weapons has increased since the 1980s and Russia is the pioneer. However, the United States has
developed thermobaric weapons over the past decade, actively engaging their technology to gain
more destructive power for the infantry soldier.
The thermobaric weapon is a thermal heat, pressure, and blast effect used against personnel,
thermobarics are much more efficient in urban assault environments as the weapon of attack,
because of the difficulty to protect armed forces personnel. Damage to the target area is
catastrophic therefore, you must be sure there are no civilians in the immediate vicinity.
The study has calculated the safe distances for the use of thermobaric weapon danger areas set by
Defense Forces Manual D 6.1 for blasting different quantities of thermobaric explosives in open
and closed spaces. This thesis has tried to determine how the pressure waves behave in a closed
space to understand how thermobaric weapons are more powerful in a closed space, which
means the weapon is most effective in urban centers. However, it is also effective in forestland
(open spaces) where the destructive distance is high, unless the person is protected. Use of
testing methods produce their own challenges to deliver reliable results, but the test method
works in a way to illustrate the effectiveness of thermobaric weapons.
KEYWORDS
thermobaric, aerosol, explosive, pressure, thermal heat, safety distances, combustion, protection
USE OF THERMOBARIC WEAPONS
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1 INTRODUCTION..........................................................................................................1
1.1 Research Problem and Research Issues..........................................................................1
1.2 Research Method............................................................................................................2
1.3 Trimming…………........................................................................................................2
2 THERMOBARIC WEAPON OPERATING PRINCIPLE............................................3
2.1 Background.....................................................................................................................3
2.2 Operation of Aerosol Removal.......................................................................................5
2.3 Operation of the Thermobaric Explosion........................................................................6
2.4 Pressure and thermal heat
characteristics.....................................................................................7
2.5 Malicious activity for humans........................................................................................10
2.6 TNT Equivalent Method.................................................................................................11
2.7 The amount of oxygen required by the reaction.............................................................14
3 THERMOBARIC WEAPON HISTORY.......................................................................16
4 THERMOBARIC WEAPONS OF TODAY..................................................................18
4.1 RPO-Shmel and RPO PDM-A........................................................................................18
4.2 RG-60TB.........................................................................................................................19
4.3 SMAW-NO......................................................................................................................20
4.4 GM-94..............................................................................................................................21
4.5 Kornet - E and METIS-M1..............................................................................................22
4.6 RPG Thermobalaristic Rockets...................................................................................... 23
4.7 TOS-1 and TOS-1A........................................................................................................ 24
5 WEAPON SUITABILITY IN DIFFERENT ENVIRONMENTS................................. 25
5.1 General information........................................................................................................ 25
5.2 Forestland........................................................................................................................ 25
5.3 Residential Center........................................................................................................... 27
6 Summary......................................................................................................................... 28
6.1 Conclusions..................................................................................................................... 28
6.2 Further research needs..................................................................................................... 30
USING THERMOBARIC ARTS
1
INTRODUCTION
Thermobaric weapons are pressure, thermal heat and blast weapons. In World War II, Germany
used thermobaric weapons against the Soviet Union. Their development however, did not start
until the 1980s, when the military became needier to have an edge. Then the need for pressure,
thermal heat heat and blast weapons in the use of war has continually increased to this day. This
thesis on thermobaric weapons is defined in accordance with its operating principle and must not
be confused with aerosol dispersants. Because the mode of action of aerosol is very similar, they
are physical deviations and major applications for aerosol weapon systems. However, this thesis
is based on thermobaric weapons.
The research topic came up with a proposal to supplement the Defense Forces database quite
well of the neglected technology. Not because of the uniqueness of the weapon system, all
pioneering or conservative representatives have no clear picture of the thermobaric weapon
system activities.
It is also common for different sources to mix thermobaric weapons and Aerosol Weapons in the
same category. This issue has not been considered by the Defense Forces, except in individual
cases in research reports focusing mostly on the topic of physics leaving the phases of weapon
technology evolution and applications less aware. After studying the subject, you will notice
how essential it is to understand thermobaric technology so this thesis also examines the physical
function of the weapon system criteria.
The starting point of this thesis was to find out how the weapon system is suitable for different
purposes for use in combat situations, as well as mapping the various weapons of the present
great powers, who make use of the thermobaric explosion as a means of effect.
1.1 Research problem and research questions:
The purpose of the study is to find out what the principle of thermobaric weapons are and how
and what kind of applications have been developed.
The underlying questions of the study are:
1- What is the performance of thermobaric weapons?
2- What is a thermobaric weapon?
3- How do thermobaric weapons produce damage?
4- How are thermobaric weapons used efficiently?
1.2. Method of research
The research method is a literature study, the perspective of which is the military technical
literature and press articles. (Finnish) Defense Forces Techniques have been used as source field
trials commissioned by a research institute and internet sources.
It was difficult to find acceptable research primary sources. Russia is the most prominent and
most active developer of thermobaric weapons and many of the original sources are Russian
authors. Therefore, many sources have had to be translated in English from online sources.
However, the sources used in the thesis have been approved with the help of the expert. In
addition, Kariniemi and Kujala's 2007 Literature Report have been a great bibliography help.
1.3 Trimming
The study is limited to dealing with the use of the paramilitary thermobaric weapons used by
their infantry. This includes the weapons carried by an individual fighter as well as the various
mobile attached weapon systems. In addition, the study deals with the United States, Russia and
the Soviet-style thermobaric weapons, which can be judged to be well represented from their
current average performance. Various weapons have been focused on handling thermobaric
characteristics, giving the examination of general characteristics less attention.
2
THERMOBARIC WEAPON OPERATING PRINCIPLE
2.1 Background
The thermobaric weapon is classified as a volumetric weapon. This category also includes
aerosol explosives. Thermobaric explosives are used to spread the most powerful pressure,
thermal heat and blast wave and thus destroy the target [1; 2; 3]. They are different from
conventional explosives so that the volume explosions are not intended only to get the most
powerful pressure wave possible. In traditional explosives, the lethal effect is based on injuries
caused by the maximum value of this pressure wave [4] as can be seen from Figure 1. It should
be noted separately that conventional explosive substances refer to the so-called "high
explosives" category, for example Trinitrotoluene (TNT). Comparing the impact of volatile
explosives on that the category only looks at the behavior of the explosion-forming waves and
not consider the fragility of these weapons. For example, the pressure of a 105mm fragment
grenade is below 100kPa five meters away which would reach 50% for personnel having the
likelihood of perforation of the eardrum. With a pressure effect of 250 kPa only one percent
probability of producing lethal injuries for the subject will be achieved [5, p. 13]. It is clear,
however, that the intrusion effect in that weapon will cause death and the weapon's intention is
not to use the pressure wave as the main means of effectiveness. The pressure wave of shock-
wielding weapons is also largely depleted by the propagation of the fragmentation of the
projectile and the movement energy allocated to the shards, unlike pulsed-action weapons in
which the outer shell is very thin [6]. The effectiveness of volume balances. Therefore,
consideration should be given to the pressure and thermal heat wave effect which is better suited
than the effect produced by fragments.
Figure 1: 1.1 Pressure change over time in a thermo- and conventional explosive [6]
The use of titles is variable and the "volume balance" term is not used much in the world. Part of
the reason may not be that the armies of different countries necessarily reveal their weapon’s
explosive composition, which would be important if the weapon systems were to be categorized
roughly aerosol and thermobaric weapons. That's why when talking about the same weapon
system different sources can use different terminology.
Major versions of a thermobaric weapon can be compared to tactical nuclear weapons with their
power and the objective [7, p. 9]. In 2007 Russia launched the largest in the world conventional
counter to the US BLU-82 bomb that was in the past was the biggest. The BLU-82 was
technologically thermobaric, while the Russian version was a thermobaric or aerosol
explosion [8; 9]. Technique of either does not apply to the same provisions as, for example,
nuclear or chemical and biological weapons. The benefits of nuclear weapons are the lack of
deposition and the absence of international laws limiting the development of the weapon or sales
[10]. But the biggest versions are from the air-dropped bombs which do not belong to the Army's
fleet, where this this thesis was limited.
The Defense Forces Protection Manual takes account of the balance of matter by saying that
aerosol sprays can be in some cases as burn weapons [11, p.122]. Also in the manual, it is
mentioned in a relatively misleading publication that there are not even aerosol bombs yet in the
field use [11], even though the Soviet Union had been using weapons in battles since the 1980s.
The Protection Manual defines flame throwing devices that spraying combustion agent or single-
type devices for flamethrowers containing capsules [11; s 130]. The manual does not mention
any sophisticated thermobaric explosives at all. According to the Protection Manual, the
"fueling" is aimed at destroying or paralyzing an opponent's forces, forcing their movement to
areas that are advantageous to their own operations, causing them to be exhausted, and to
commit them to extinguishing fires. The weapon can also destroy the enemy's weapon systems
and material. "The Russians have said, among other things, that it is good for extinguishing fire
due to their efficient oxygen consumption [6]. The Protection Manual states that since fires are a
key part of the definition of fuel. It is therefore difficult to classify a thermobaric weapon as a
fuel because it does not meet that definition.
The use of the term thermobaric weapon is confusing in other states. In Russia, for example,
thermobaric weapons, aerosols and combustion weapons are categorized directly into "flame
weapons" or flame-incendiary weapons [12; 13] which makes it difficult to sort out the
thermobaric and aerosol-based weapons. It is also common for the aerosol and thermobaric
weapons to be confused in the terminological sense when talking about volume balances. The
Defense Forces Manual' guides, however, say the troops use flame throwers and fuels to spread
fires during training exercise [14].
2.2 Operation of aerosol explosive
The operation of the aerosol explosive is based on two stages: fuel dispersion and the formation
of the aerosol blast. The event is two-stage, with two different inputs. The fuel is a highly
flammable and easily vaporizing material such as propylene oxide and the explosion can be
strengthened with metal powders. [15; 16] The impact on living personnel is based on the
temperature, long-term pressure cycle, the subsequent vacuum and the oxygen in the
environment [16] of the explosion-forming fireball. The problem with the aerosol explosive is
the ignition conditions required by the fuel contained therein. For example, gasoline will only
ignite if it is 1.3% to 6% in the surrounding air. This is hindered using aerosol explosives in
different conditions [15; 6]. Because of a rather similar policy and the different classification
methods in countries, aerosol explosives are generally termed "thermobaric" explosives but they
are two different weaponry systems. Because of the special conditions required by the aerosol
explosion, these weapons are mainly used for regional effect because of the required
concentration ratio [15]. Examples of aerosol sprays include the BM-30 Smerch rocket launcher.
The weapon consists of 12 tubes that can be used to fire a rocket containing 100 kilograms of fire
material. [17]
2.3 Operation of a thermobaric explosive
Thermobaric explosives are fueled military explosives whose efficiency has been enhanced by
adding reactive metals to the explosive [16]. The thermobaric explosive works in three phases.
However, these different steps occur in part simultaneously and seamlessly with one input,
unlike the aerosol explosive. Each stage affects a specific feature of the explosion process, so the
explosive can be modified to a desirable outcome, for example, enhancing the explosion's ability
to break the walls of a building. The name of the explosive and its specialty when compared to
other explosives is based on the reaction of the third stage alloy and the reaction with oxygen.
The alloy may contain only a so-called fuel metal reacting with oxygen, but the mixture may also
contain other metals designed to enhance the explosion process, for example by lowering the
ignition temperature of the aluminum [6; 16; 18].
In the first stage, an anaerobic detonation is performed that determines the peak value of the
explosion event. During the event there is a shock wave, behind which there is a partial thermo-
chemical reaction zone. At this stage, the shock wave is still only millimeters in dimension. The
fuel particles themselves are almost unreactive during this microsecond phase. This step
determines the ability of the explosive to defeat the object's protection [6; 18].
In the second stage, the gas phase particle plate applied by the first stage occurs anaerobic
reaction of metal particles and fuel particle degradation products with. The metal particles in this
phase should have a spherical shape and a grain size fine so that the reactive area is as large as
possible. The second stage is of a dimensional nature centimeter and takes place within hundreds
of microseconds. The reaction determines the process the magnitude of the intermediate
pressure, which in turn affects the ability of the explosive to break the object's constructions [6;
16; 18].
In the third stage, the fuel and the remaining metal particles react with oxygen to form a fireball
that sucks in all the available of oxygen. Since the volume of metal and oxygen reaction products
is small compared to the original gas volume, this does not increase the effectiveness of the
shock wave, as opposed to traditional explosives based on the volume of newly formed gases.
The thermal heat generated by the reaction, however, reinforces the pressure wave, while also
making it longer lasting, though not necessarily of the same high initial pressure of the
explosion. The reaction only ceases after all the particles of the explosive have reacted with
oxygen. The metal particles in this step should be spherical or flaky, and coarse grain size so that
the particles fly as far as possible and burn longer. The third step determines the ability of the
explosive to cause direct damage to personnel or material [6; 16; 18].
2.4. Pressure and thermos properties and characteristics
Thermobaric weapons produce much more damage than conventional explosives. This is due to
the use of explosive overpressure and thermal heat wave. With a conventional explosive, the
pressure effect is only generated by detonation, which deteriorates the longer the pressure surface
advances. This advancing overpressure of about 8 km/s will cause damage to the target by
breaking it or projecting environmental objects at high speeds [6].
The overpressure generated by the thermobaric explosion is 4 km/s, which is slower than the
overpressure generated by a traditional detonating explosive [6]. However, the thermobaric
explosion will get more energy after the detonation because of the thermobaric thermal heat
overpressure will deteriorate considerably slower and the subject will undergo a longer period of
pressure and thermal heat. As large molecules of oxygen change to small oxides, a high vacuum
is generated [16]. The vacuum is longer than in a traditional explosive, as is clear from Figure 1.
As a result, the reaction impulse forces are higher and the explosive can be said to be much more
destructive both for humans and for structures. The principle of the impulse force is shown in
Figure 2 and the effects of the shock wave effect in time from Table 1 [6].
Figure 2. (FINNISH): Dependency of impulse power on the life time Source [19]
Table 1: Change in impact of the pressure depending on the time [16]
PRESSURE 30 µs 100 µs 300 µs 1 ms 30 ms
Effect/duration
Limited 0.77 bar 0.56 bar 0.42 bar 0.30 bar 0.22 bar
Effects
Average 2.70 bar 1.88 bar 1.35 bar 0.94 bar 0.68 bar
Effects
Serious 3.04 bar 2.22 bar 1.67 bar 1.22 bar 0.92 bar
Effects
Deadly 5.34 bar 3.64 bar 2.80 bar 2.00 bar 1.47 bar
The smaller the space of the thermobaric explosion, the stronger the overpressure, the particles
being better mixed with air [20] and the reflection of the shock from the surrounding walls [2, s
32-33] as shown in Figures 3 and 4. Generally, according to the weapon system guide the
reflection formed by the shock wave perpendicular to the surface of the wall is about ten times
higher than that of the incoming shock wave [21, p. 322]. Because of this, the most dangerous
places indoors during a thermobaric explosion are to be close to walls, especially corners. The
overpressure depends on the volume of the closed space [20, p. 4]. The effectiveness of
thermobaric weapons is also increased by the overpressure and thermal heat wave's ability to act
behind the corners. Fire-based weapons can be protected by going beyond the barrier [15].
Figure 3. (FINNISH): Behavior of the print run in open space [6]
Figure 4. Behavior of the print run in the closed state [6]
When a 0.8kg thermobaric energetic material was blown up in a 15.73m3
cylinder, it reached a
maximum pressure of about 7.50 bar and maintained a pressure of 2.0 bar for a relatively long
time after the explosion. [20]. Similar measurements were obtained with a detonation calorimeter
when detonating 1.5 grams of thermobaric energetic material in which the explosive capsules
were sized for the tunnels. In addition, the study showed that by minimizing the amount of
oxygen in the environment by replacing it with nitrogen, the pressure was reduced as shown in
Figure 5 [20, 11]. In principle, therefore, spaces where a person is not forced to reside can be
protected from a thermobaric weapon by substituting oxygen shielding gas. For example, storage
facilities could thus gain additional protection by reducing the oxygen ratio.
(a) Schematic of Test Chamber
(b) Air Atmosphere (c) Nitrogen atmosphere
Figure 5. Comparison of pressure records for 0.8-kg TNT charges (blue curves) with 0.8-kg Tritonal
(80%TNT, 20%Al) charges (red curves) in the 15.75 m3
cylindrical tank (a) [20, 11].
A 2227 ºC maximum temperature was obtained from the thermobaric explosion cloud created by
a 1.5-gram explosive during an experimental and computational study. The temperature was
reached in the third phase when the metal particles began to heat up air. The air heated metal
particles rose only 727 ºC. In the computer modeling of the study, the maximum pressure was
10.0 bar [21, 6 - 7]. When comparing the effect of thermobaric heat note that the overpressure is
over beyond [6], which is therefore more important for the assault weapon.
2.5 The Impact on Humans
Today, explosion injuries are divided into four classes based on the type of incident: primary,
secondary, tertiary and quaternary [23]. An example of these injuries formation in closed volume
mode is shown in Figure 6.
Primary injury includes explosion pressure and thermal injuries. Pressure generated by the
impulse force causes enormous force on the body. Body internal organs with air (lungs,
esophagus and ears) are particularly sensitive. In the worst case, the lungs flatten due to
compression and other thoracic organs cause pulmonary bleeding, swelling, pulmonary rupture,
and eventually cardiac vascular blockage [23; 6].
Secondary injuries are the result of fragmentation of the weapon or fragmentation of the
environment. In a thermobaric weapon, the shock effect is less because the shell of the weapon is
not designed to increase fragmentation but to facilitate the detonation event. Usually, metal or
other debris will be blasted into the eyes due to explosion pressure [23; 6].
Tertiary injuries are caused by a reversal of overpressure and low pressure. During over-
pressure, the person is thrown backwards, but the vacuum begins to pull people back. During that
retreat, the sudden change in direction is especially hard on the person's neck. The person is
usually thrown with strong force toward the wall and at worst impact can occur damage to the
limbs. The collapse of buildings injuries is calculated in this category [23; 6; 18].
Quaternary injuries are caused by the explosive combustion resulting in oxygen
deficiency. Apart from choking, it includes all the mechanisms that cause burns, metallic and
toxic poisoning and infections caused by contamination [23].
Figure 6. Effects of a Thermobaric explosion on personnel in a cave [6]
2.6 TNT equivalent procedure
The TNT equivalent method calculates the power produced by explosive gases from different
explosives relative to trinitrotoluene. In this study, the TNT equivalent of a thermobaric weapon
compared to DEFENSE FORCES MANUAL D 6.1 for safe guarding at safe distances. The way
you tell is at what distance a person has been required to have a protective gear with high
probability to be completely safe.
The conference held in 2011 showed that the TNT equivalent method the calculated result
averages an error of 23%. At most, the error was 50% and often the method gave a too low
efficiency value to the actual one [24]. The reasons for the mistake were that the method does not
consider an expansion of gases after the blast explosion or the emergence of new gases. In the
same context, an alternative was introduced calculation method for the TNT equivalent method,
where the error was only 4% [24], more specific the method is unlikely to be even more widely
used. That is why we must critically pay attention to the accuracy of the TNT equivalents of
different sources and to think more of the results as indicative.
In addition, it is to be noted that the safe distance table of Defense Forces Manual D 6.1 has
unequivocal separation of clearance distances for blasting surface implements and steel
fragments. The thermobaric weapon shell has been created to minimize restraining the explosion
pressure and minimize the conversion of the explosion pressure to kinetic energy for the shell
fragments [6]. However, the metal honeycomb produces a small spatter effect. In this study, the
weapon is compared with the protective distances required for surface loading and not for
blasting steel fragments safe distances. If the number of explosives in the weapon is not the same
as in the table, linearly interpolate with the two nearest values using the possible clearance
distance. The reason for using the two closest values is to print the line nonlinearly, so using the
two closest values will result in a minimized error. In this work, the interpolation is calculated
directly by the excel table alignment function.
The Defense Forces Manual D 6.1 has the absolute safe distance from explosion in the open.
Distances given by the manual will, with very high probability, provide a completely safe
distance from the explosive. The Defense Forces Manual has taken into consideration the
protected fighter, which means that the force loss due to a protective obstacle has been
considered as shown in Table 2. If a person is too close to an explosion, there is possibly the case
for primary, secondary, tertiary and even extreme quaternary injuries.
Mass detonations have their own safe distances, which are shown in Table 3. Interior minimum
volume must be met by the clearance distance between the explosive and the blast. In addition to
the distance and minimum volume, the area must be protected from the overpressure with
double-sided protection, approved helmet, protective cover, eye protection and covered exposed
skin and use some structural barrier against the blast. The manual gives the expert permission to
set the distance even shorter provided that the protection arrangements and circumstances
allow [25].
Table 2 Shielding distances for blasting surface inserts in the opening [25]
Explosive Quantity
(kg)
Protected covered and
durable shielding from
fragments
(m)
Protected covered and
durable shielding from
fragments
(m)
Unprotected from missiles
and shrapnel (radius of the
hazard zone, meters) Hearing protection raja
(m)
0.001 3 5 20 30
0.06 8 20 80 120
0.2 11 30 120 180
0.5 15 40 160 240
1.0 18 50 200 300
5.0 30 90 350 500
10.0 40 110 450 650
20.0 50 140 550 800
50.0 70 190 750 1100
100.0 90 240 1000 1400
500.0 150 400 1600 2400
Table 3. Shielding distance when sludge is used indoors [25]
Batch size
Safety distances
from the front pressure wave
(m),
Minimum interior volume
for safe chamber overpressure
(m3
),
1g 2 3
10g 5 12
30 g 8 35
50 g 9 58
75 g 10 87
100 g 11 116
200 g 13 232
300 g 14 348
400 g 16 464
500 g 17 580
750 g 19 869
1000 g 21 1159
1500 g 24 1738
2000 g 27 2318
2500 g 29 2897
3000 g 30 3476
2.7 The amount of oxygen required by the reaction
In addition to the pressure and thermal effects, explosions also generate toxic gases and oxygen
deficits. In the third stage of the thermobaric explosion the magnitude of oxygen deficiency can
be calculated in theory the explosion reaction and the quantities of fuel and particles of metal can
be calculated. At this stage, metal particles react with oxygen to form metal oxide as a reaction
product. The total mass of various weapons and the general name of the explosive substance is
quite easy to find. The problem accurate to obtain a calculation result will be the exact
composition of the explosive substance and the various components of the mixture relationship
to each other. Public sources have been found that the United States SMAW-NE D used
explosive PBXIH-135: a. Mixed metal includes aluminum, as a binder PCP TMNETN added and
the explosive material octogen (HMX). Of these, only the first component, the metal, reacts with
the oxygen significantly. The explosive total weight is 1.8 kg. Accurate mixing ratio is not
evident [26; 27].
Making the case considered in which the entire warhead half of aluminum (Al) and a second
half of the hydrocarbon-containing binder and the explosive mixture of ((CH2)n).
In this case, the aluminum as well as other explosive reacts with oxygen molecules to form
Alumina.
2 Al + 1.5 O2 → Al2 O3
m (Al) = 26.98 g/mol
m (Al) = 900g
→ N (Al) = M (Al) / M (Al) mol = 33.36
N (O2) = 0.75 * n (Al) mol = 25.02
(CH2)n + 1.5 O2 → CO2 + H20
M ((CH2)n) = 14.03 g/mol
m ((CH2)n) = 900g
→ N ((CH2)n) m = ((CH2)n)/M ((CH2)n) = 64.15 moles
→ n (O2) = 1.5 * N ((CH2)n) = 96.22 moles
N (O 2) Total = 25.02 96.22 mol +96.22 mol = 121.24
Vm =V/m, Vm = 22.4 L/mol (ideal gas)
V (O2) = N(O2) Total * V m = M * 121.24 *22.4 L/mol = 2715.78 L
→ 2.71 m3
oxygen
The air is 20% oxygen, meaning that the explosive needs 13.58 m3
of air to burn completely
(V(O2)/0.2).
If we consider the explosive charge within the explosive living room having a height according
to the Finnish Building Regulations of at least 2,5m [28], the explosion consumes oxygen to the
surface area of 5.43 m2
size of a territory. In addition, the explosion will produce other gases
harmful to humans, such as aluminum oxide, which is harmful to breathe.
The conclusion can say that the oxygen consumption is not by thermobaric explosion, one of the
largest producers of damage, even if the explosion would use the oxygen in the lung. Calculated
area is still very small, and the target is exposed to the primary, secondary and tertiary effects
which probably already achieved the desired effect. However, thermobaric explosion quaternary
injuries are much more likely to occur than with conventional explosive materials because the
oxygen is being used more efficiently as well as the metallic particles remaining in the air may
make it difficult to breathe.
3
THERMOBARIC HISTORY
Russia has been a pioneer in the development of thermobaric and aerosol weapons. The reason
for this was, among other things, the performance requirements imposed by the Soviet Union and
later by Russia's wars. The United States has also increased the use of this technology in its own
struggles.
While the Germans used thermobarics in World War II, it never made it into mass production
and was forgotten for a long time. In the 1970s rose in the Soviet Union the idea of rocket
launchers, which would use the advantage of thermobaric increase of pressure based on the
effect of the thermal heat wave [29]. The reason for this was the need to get rockets more
effective, because the artillery indirect fire was a vital breakthrough in the then-offensive
grounded tactics and the Russians wanted to use conventional weapons as far as possible and not
nuclear weapons. Later thermobaric artillery was found to be applicable to a more accurate the
destruction of a single item such as fortifications [30 170-174 189 p.; 47 p. 3]. The Soviet
leadership estimates that the pressure-bearing weapons are well suited to the threat of mass-
military forces formed by China as a good tool for destroying personnel [29]. Originally, an
aerosol bomb was developed to clear undergrowth and mines [31 p. 3]. The clearing method is
sensible, as performed by shooting or blast effects clearance requires a direct hit, which must be
strong enough to break the mine, while thermal heat and pressure wave may blow up the igniter
[11, p.122].
The Soviet Union got the TOS-1 thermobaric weapon system based on the volume of arms
completed in the early 1980s. The weapon system consisted of rocket launchers mounted on the
T-72 tracked vehicle. Around the same time the ready to fire from the shoulder RPO-A Shmel
rocket launcher was obtained. The thermobaric rocket launcher was first used in the 1980s by
the Soviet Union during the war in Afghanistan, but their use was more on a trial stage and not to
be shared with forces on a large scale [32]. Thermobaric weapons systems were wider used in
the Chechnya wars where they proved to be effective. Especially the cheaper to fire from the
shoulder RPO-A Shmel flamethrower, which demonstrated its usefulness in urban
conditions. During the year 1994-1996 war, the Russian troops did not receive traditional blast
impact weapons thanks to their sharp-shooters at machine gun nests or dens, in which case a
convenient shoulder-fired rocket launcher would be effective if available [6; 14; 33]. When
conflict broke out in the 1999 Chechen war the Russian Army attack slowed down in Grozny
city. The mountains were considered as territory for the use of chemical weapons and to promote
thermobaric attack. The Russian political leadership apparently vetoed the use of chemical
weapons, but allowed the use of ground-delivered thermobaric weapons. Air-delivered
thermobaric systems were only used outside the city [33].
The newer models developed by RPO-A Shmel and subsequently formally classified on the
Russian manufacturer's website as flame throwers or flame weapons [34; 35]. The reason for the
designation may be that the weapon was replaced by a previously flamethrower, and in the
earlier version there was no armor-penetration explosive charge [36; 37]. It is possible that the
designation aims to emphasize the purpose of the weapon, which is clearly emphasized in the
destruction of personnel [36; 37] and separates it from anti-armor control. For example, in the
war of Afghanistan RPO-A was not reported in use to destroy tanks [33].
In the United States, the effectiveness of the thermobaric weapons was recognized and the
country began to actively develop its own weapon systems at the turn of the 2000s. In 2003 US
Infantry received its first weapon based on a thermobaric explosion. It was a 40mm XM1060
grenade shot from the M32 grenade launcher. The implementation of this grenade was very fast.
In November 2002, the troops submitted a request for a thermobaric weapon that would be better
suited to Afghanistan's battles. Using the old technology in just five months on request, the
XM1060 was in active use by the troops [38]. The USA’s desire to gain more effectiveness in
battlefield thermobarics has the M-72 LAW modern version of the rocket launcher, which has a
thermobaric warhead used for battle [26].
Russia's intention to modernize 70% of the Army by 2020 with the Flame (thermobaric)
weapons are classified by the modernization of the subject. CBRN (Chemical, Biological,
Radiological & Nuclear) Force Commander, Gen. Eduard Cherkasov said the efficiency of the
flame weapon will increase significantly after the upgrade [12]. “Shortly, infantry flame units
will receive new weaponry with higher fire precision and penetration before exploding effect,
ability to destroy fortified emplacements, armored equipment, and personnel in trenches,” Flame
(thermobaric) weapons are very effective in close combat and are not only physically destructive
but also have a psychological effect on an Enemy" [39]. The task of the Russian Army CBRN
forces, among other things, is to produce losses to the enemy using combustion weapons [41].
4 THERMOBARIC WEAPONS OF TODAY
4.1 RPO A Shmel and RPO PDM-A
RPO-Shmel is a Russian-made rocket launcher that was approved for use by the Russian Army
in 1988 but was not available for production due to lack of funding. The weapon was large-scale
produced in 2001, after the war in Chechnya, as the need was observed for a suitable rocket
launcher for urban combat [37]. The thermobaric operation is based on aerosol explosion
according to the manufacturer's website [35] but, among other things thermobaric bomb
literature report said weapon is a thermobaric bomb [18]. The purpose of the previous version
was to only effect the surface superficially. In a later version a warhead was attached to the
explosive, the purpose of which is to penetrate a wall or weak armored surface, after which the
thermobaric explosive itself is triggered within the object [37]. Weapon can be seen in Figure 7.
The weapon is intended to be used "against the walled city compartments, mountain and arable
terrain as well as the fortifications, unprotected and lightly armored vehicles" [34]. The weapon
is a disposable and is intended to be carried in two pieces. The rifle with a launcher section
attached to the barrel can launch a thermobaric grenade. The weapon warhead contains
explosives weighing 2.1kg, which when firing in the open has a lethal radius of area 50m² on
unprotected personnel, but in a confined space the thermobaric grenade kill radius increases to
80m² [35; 37]. TNT equivalent has not been reported for the RPO-A.
RPO family of weapons known as flame throwers by the manufacturer's website even if it is a
rocket launcher. The reason for this may be the manufacturer's desire to distinguish from rocket
launched anti-tank weapons, as thermobaric weapons is not defined in history of any armor steel
penetration in any source and, the rocket launcher replaced the previously used family of flame
throwers [36; 37]. In addition, the manufacturer website mentions the warhead to be effective
against everything except armored vehicles [34]. The war in Afghanistan speaks for itself, even
though the soldiers did not end up damaging armored vehicles with a RPO-A [33]. The
thermobaric grenade is also said to be suitable for breaking rivers' ice, destroying potential
avalanches, and suppressing fires [6].
A newer version of the RPO-A Shmel (Bumble Bee), RPO-M was introduced in 2006. Unlike
earlier version, the manufacturer informed the warhead to be thermobaric with an aerosol
explosive. The warhead size has been increased 3kg, which according to the manufacturer
doubles lethality thus corresponding to the TNT equivalent by 5-6kg amount of explosive
material. In addition, maximum range has been raised to 1700 meters, steady aim is improved by
adding optics, the frame and the total weight was reduced to 8.8kg [34]. When comparing 6 to
6.1 kilograms of TNT, the values given in Table 4 are obtained as safe distances.
Table 4. Calculated for safety distances RPO-M weapon
32 meters Protected in a covered, fragment shielded, sustainable shelter
94 meters Protected by off-road obstacle, behind timber (respectively)
370 meters Unprotected affected area and shrapnel
36 meters Safety distance charge (m) from the front pressure wave
6950 m3
The minimum interior volume (m3) for survivable chamber pressure
2780 m2 The volume required for surface-affected 2.5-meter high room
Figure 7 RPO Shmel A rocket launcher tube with thermobaric rocket next to it [40]
4.2 RG-60TB
RG-60TB is a Russian-produced thermobaric hand grenade, which contains 240 grams
explosives. It is a fragmentation hand grenade used by the Finnish Defense Forces, activated by
removing the safety pull ring to release the handle whereby blowing up the grenade. The
explosion is followed by thermobaric reaction. The RG-60TB has a TNT equivalent explosive
corresponding to 550-660 grams impulse. The hand grenade is intended for use against
personnel, causing havoc within 7 meters radius [41]. For comparison, the Defense Forces hand
grenade effect is 15 meters radius from the explosion and the occasional big fragments can cause
damage to the opponent from that distance [42, p.180]. However, consideration must be given to
the protection against both disruptive effects, fragment and thermobaric. The fragmentation hand
grenade weapons are easier to protect against behind a strong enough barrier. Thermobaric
grenades are more difficult to protect against as they go behind barrier protection. When
comparing 660 grams of TNT Defense Forces Manual D-6.1 values obtained are reported in
Table 5 for safe clearances.
Table 5. Calculated for safety distances RG 60TB
15,96 meters Protected in a covered, fragment shielded, sustainable shelter
43,2 meters Protected by off-road obstacle, behind timber (respectively)
172,8 meters Unprotected affected area and shrapnel
18,28 meters Safety distance charge (m) from the front pressure wave
764,96 m3
The minimum interior volume (m3) for survivable chamber pressure
305,984 m2
The volume required for surface-affected 2.5-meter high room
(RG-60TB Thermobaric Grenade)
4.3 SMAW-NE
United States created a balance for infantrymen primarily to increase their ability to effect the
enemy fortified personnel and can also be used as an anti-tank alternative weapon [43]. The
weapon can use rockets for various purposes, one of which is thermobaric, which is used against
entrenched enemy personnel [43; 27]. The rocket is designed to penetrate through a wall to the
target. In the US battle for Fallujah "SMAW Gunners became the expert in determining which
wall to shoot to cause the roof to collapse and crush the insurgents fortified inside interior
rooms." The NE round was supposed to be able to go through a brick wall, but in practice
Gunners had to fire through a window or make a hole with an anti-tank Rocket [1]. The weapon
is shown in Figure 8. The explosive has a mass of 1.8kg PBXIH 135-O [27]. The TNT
equivalent is not specified, but was about equivalent value for double the quantity of explosives
of the RG-60TB. The TNT value in this case should be 3.6kg. When comparing this amount of
TNT Defense Forces Manual D-6.1 values obtained are reported in Table 6 for safe clearances.
Table 6. Calculated for safety distances SMAW-NE-caliber weapon.
25,8 meters Protected in a covered, fragment shielded, sustainable shelter
76 meters Protected by off-road obstacle, behind timber (respectively)
297,5 meters Unprotected affected area and shrapnel
31,2 meters Safety distance charge (m) from the front pressure wave
4170,8 m3
The minimum interior volume (m3) for survivable chamber pressure
1668,32 m2
The volume required for surface-affected 2.5-meter high room
Figure 8. SMAW weapon ready for use [44]
4.4 GM-94
GM-94 is a Russian-made grenade launcher which fires 43 mm grenades. The launcher is
capable of firing high explosive, frag, thermobaric, smoke and tear gas canisters, rubber slugs
and other non-lethal payloads. The weapon is intended for urban city battles having a range of
300 meters. The VGM-93 thermobaric grenade blast area radius is said to be 3 meters with a safe
distance of over 10 meters from the explosion. Fragmentation is minimized by using plastic
projectiles which destroys the fragment effect but the pressure and thermal heat effect by the
thermobaric energetic material is increased. The thermobaric grenade VGM-93 weighs 250
grams, including 160 grams of thermobaric energetic material. A direct hit projectile is capable
to penetrate brick walls of 10-12 cm thick and make a hole in an 8 mm thick steel plate [45]. The
GM-94 grenade launcher is shown in Figure 9. The assumption is made that the TNT equivalent
values for a double thermobaric energetic material is under the amount in RG-60TB. In this case,
a value of 360 grams. When comparing this quantity of TNT, Defense Forces Manual D-6.1
obtain values reported in Table 7 for safe clearances.
Table 7. Calculated for safety distances GM-94 weapon.
13,13 meters Protected in a covered, fragment shielded, sustainable shelter
35,3 meters Protected by off-road obstacle, behind timber (respectively)
141,3 meters Unprotected affected area and shrapnel
15,2 meters Safety distance charge (m) from the front pressure wave
417,6 m3
The minimum interior volume (m3) for survivable chamber pressure
167 m2
The volume required for surface-affected 2.5-meter high room
Figure 9. GM-94 Source [45]
4.5 Kornet-E and METIS-M1
Kornet-E is a Russian, tripod mounted, anti-tank missile launcher for firing laser guided rockets.
The Kornet-E was originally developed against armored vehicles, but later developed with a
thermobaric missile, the 9N133F-1 version is used against buildings, armored and lightly
armored vehicles and against personnel on the ground. The missile’s TNT equivalent amount is
10 kg of explosive [46; 47; 48]. On the manufacturer's website, the missile is alleged to be an
aerosol [47], but the cross-sectional view on the pages gives an impression of a RPO Shmel
being more consistent with the manufacturer's website terminology. The firing device is shown
in Figure 10. The newer version, Kornet-EM, 9М133FМ-2, version is used against structures.
The TNT-equivalent values is also 10 kg. It is noteworthy that the device is capable of firing
newer missiles[46; 48]. Kornet-EM is also an automated version that can be attached to a
vehicle wherein the rate of fire increases [49]. When comparing 10kg of TNT, Defense Forces
Manual D-6.1 obtained values reported in Table 8 for safe clearances.
Table 8. Calculated for safety distances Kornet-E and Kornet-EM
40 meters Protected in a covered, fragment shielded, sustainable shelter
110 meters Protected by off-road obstacle, behind timber (respectively)
450 meters Unprotected affected area and shrapnel
44 meters Safety distance charge (m) from the front pressure wave
11582 m3
The minimum interior volume (m3) for survivable chamber pressure
4632,8 m2
The volume required for surface-affected 2.5-meter high room
Russia has also developed a newer anti-tank missile firing device, Metis-M1 which launches the
thermobaric missile 9М131FM, this version is designed to be used against structures. The exact
composition for the explosive substance contained in the missile is not reported, so this thesis
does not explain the device in more detail.
Figure 10 Kornet E firing missiles device Source: [47]
4.6 RPG Thermobaric Rockets
TBG-7V has a thermobaric warhead, which is a secondary effect following the blast
fragmentation. The RPG-7 rocket launcher is used for launching the TBG-7V. The thermobaric
rocket is claimed to be effective against personnel up to a 300m3
sized rooms and 2-meter trench
railings. The warhead lethal radius is announced to be 10 meters [50] which likely takes place in
open detonation. The rocket weighs 4.5kg in its entirety, but its payload weight is not indicated
separately. The rocket range is only 150 meters due to the weight of the rocket, which is nearly
twice heavier than other rockets [50]. The Russian version can be compared to the Bulgarian
thermobaric rocket, GTB-7VS having a reported total weight of 4.4kg, and TNT equivalent of
two pounds. The only external difference is the slightly different shaped end piece [51]. TBG-7
warhead format is seen in Figure 11.
TBG-29V is a newer RPG-29 rocket thermobaric weapon, the declared destructive power is one
as great as TBG-7V's. However, the rocket weighs 6.7kg which is likely explained by increased
range by, which is 500 meters. The penetrating warhead when triggered creates an opening, the
thermobarics has 50m3
volume destructive power within the building [52]. When comparing 2kg
of TNT, Defense Forces Manual D-6.1 obtained values reported in Table 9 for safe clearances.
Table 9. The calculated safety distances for TBG-7V warhead in battle
21 meters Protected in a covered, fragment shielded, sustainable shelter
60 meters Protected by off-road obstacle, behind timber (respectively)
237,5 meters Unprotected affected area and shrapnel
27 meters Safety distance charge (m) from the front pressure wave
2318 m3
The minimum interior volume (m3) for survivable chamber pressure
927,2 m2
The volume required for surface-affected 2.5-meter high room
Figure 11: TBG-7 warhead [53]
4.7 TOS 1 and 1A,
TOS-1 was introduced by the Soviet Union in 1988, it is a rocket launcher mounted on the T-72
tank body. The first version was used for the wars in Afghanistan and Chechnya and achieved
good results. TOS-1 includes 30 firing tubes which may be loaded with rockets containing
aerosol explosive rockets. Weapon systems’ rocket range is 0,4-3,5 km. Firing of all the tubes
takes 7.5 to 15 seconds, because the user can select to fire one or two at a time. All 30 rockets
firing produce a destruction zone of 200 x 400 meters in size (blast area of 80,000 m2)
. NATO
countries do not currently have any similar kind of weapon system [54; 55; 56].
The later version of TOS-1A was introduced in 2001. It has reduced the number of tubes to 24,
but the length of the pipes has been increased, resulting in a maximum range of 6 kilometers.
Launching all the pipes takes either 6 or 12 seconds [54; 55]. A new version of the rocket
launcher was introduced in 2012 with a reported range of 6 km and of 90kg of explosive
material, with the firing of all tubes having a coverage of 40,000 m2 [55; 57]. The reported
damage area conflicts with the older version, as the size of the disaster area has decreased by half
even though the number of rockets has been reduced by only six. This weapon is shown in
Figure 12.
The TNT equivalent for these weapons is not realistic to estimate.. Possible blast coverage area
error formed due to the particularly large amount of explosive material, if it is assumed TNT for
the equivalent of twice the volume of fire. In addition, the data sources of the weapon system’s
reported destroyed area values differ from each other so much that they cannot be reliable.
Figure 12. TOS-1A [60]
5 WEAPON Suitability in Different Environments
5.1 Overview
The thermobaric weapon is intended for precision work, unlike an aerosol that requires extensive
large area demands due to its ignition complexity. Aerosol based weapons effectiveness is far
beyond explosive blast weapons, so it is justified to think thermobaric weapons as more
precision weaponry and more suitable fit for the urban battle. The great advantage of
thermobaric weapons is the difficulty to protect from the pressure and thermal impact.
It is difficult to protect against thermobaric weapons. According to the Defense Manual 1, open
and enclosed areas do not provide protection against the pressure wave [58, p. 68]. Even if only
part of the shockwave intrudes into area, the damage effect is intensified by the shock wave
reflections off the back wall [2, pp. 32-33]. Protection against fragments can be done by adding
clothing, enhancing environment protection or enhancing vehicle armor. The thermal heat wave
can be minimize using fire resistant clothing. However, pressure waves cannot be completely
avoided by improving equipment protection. The most important thing emphasized should be to
avoid the construction of enclosed shelters and the reflection walls of structures. Need some sort
of overpressure release valve such as blowout panels and roofs [18].
Helmet, hearing protection and body armor is a pressure-relieving effect from blast injury [59].
However, the pressure wave is difficult to protect from by using clearance in the protective
clothing size. Furthermore, a study by the Swedish FOI found the soldiers as well as official’s
uniforms to increase the number of injuries incurred from thermobaric weapons [18].
5.2 Forest Terrain
Thermobaric weapons pressure waves can penetrate foxholes from open entry holes. Therefore,
even when protected from a blast event the personnel are at risk of the thermobaric explosion
even though the they would be the bottom of a foxhole. In a blast based explosion, the explosion
protection walls resistance determines protective value. Pressure wave front scans over a
foxhole, penetrates the foxhole and part of the pressure wave reflects from the walls
strengthening the destructive effect. However, compared to the urban environment there is less
pressure for the front-wave reflections from walls, for example, in the absence of a roof, with the
result that the reflection is considerably weaker.
As was apparent from the reduction in effectiveness of RPG rockets when an explosion occurs
outside the fortification [52], however, it becomes an important weapon against open holes in the
fortification or against the effectiveness of the targets permeability. In the war of Afghanistan,
Soviet soldiers could exploit dusts cloud generated by an explosion outside the object or a
specially fired smoke screen that allowed the soldiers to reach a better fire position [60, p.256].
However, targeting defense structures required direct visual contact, for example the tunnel
opening, which made it more difficult to use the weapon behind a smoke screen [60, p.256]. The
increased use of RPO-A weapons increased the number of successful tasks and their own losses
decreased, so the weapon could be effective. In the war in Afghanistan, however, the weapon
had not yet been distributed to the troops [60, 255-258].
The lethal effect produced by the shockwave alone must also consider the durability of the
protecting structure, as the fighter may become trapped in a collapsing structure. A protective
door would weaken an explosion outside, but when an explosion occurs inside a containment
building, it will only increase the destructive impact. The greater the threat to the collapse of the
protection structure is in the urban environment, protective structures built in the forests are not
as large and affecting them from different directions is more difficult.
When using an open area, theoretically, it is possible to be sure of the weapon's destruction area,
as the pressure wave and thermal effect will not gain extra power compared to enclosed space.
Choosing the right type of a thermobaric weapon can limit the blast area effect to a smaller
extent than in many conventional aerosol attack weapons. However, the need to limit the
destructive area is not as great as in an urban environment, where there may still be civilians in
the nearby area.
In the Defense Forces Manual there is no mention of thermobaric weapons, but the manual does
speak of aerosol dispensers, which can be partially used as a fuel [11]. For thermobaric weapons,
it is not characteristic to use multiple firings. The surrounding oxygen is used during the
explosion and the thermal cloud remains momentary [6]. In addition, the RPO-A thermobaric
version [35], differs from the RPO-Z incendiary version, which distinctly advertised ability to
generate an incendiary effect, and the manufacturer advertised the weapon for the fire-fighting
purpose. The Russians have reported that the thermobaric weapon is well suited for
extinguishing fires [6].
5.3 Center of Settlement
Over the past 30 years, thermobaric weapons have proven to be effective in urban conditions,
where it is possible to go from normal habitats to more easily concealed [1; 6; 33; 60],
Danger zone area protection from fragment impact show that structure for the soldier requires a
greater distance than in an explosion in the open. Also, the required minimum volume of interior
space increases rapidly. For this reason, protection must be improved either by isolating rooms or
by building overpressure relief (blowout panels) that disengage pressure outside the building [18;
52].
When considering thermobaric weapons, other explosive weapons may be better to avoid by-
stander victims. For other explosive weapons to achieve the same result, they use a much more
powerful blast effect or target the object several times, for example, to destroy the inside of the
building. When the enemy in Chechnya was not affected by the traditional impact on the urban
environment, Russia resorted to the use of the thermobaric weapons that enabled the attack to
proceed again [31, 4]. The Thermobaric Hand Grenade RG-60TB is effective in its area of
destruction, but its danger area is smaller than with a normal hand grenade, which increases
safety for the military using it [25; 26].
On the other hand, thermobaric weapons are much more effective in their destructive area and
produce victims and it is more difficult to treat the victim than aerosol attacks. This means that
when using thermobaric weapons, it must be certain that there are no civilians in the impacted
area. It is up to the user whether he or she can relate the required force to that threat and use only
RPO-A type weapons to destroy a target or use the TOS-1 caliber weapon that Russia used to
destroyed entire villages in the Chechen war [33]. Through experience, US soldiers also learned
to launch SMAWs in a certain way, causing roofs to collapse [1]. Pressure effect could be a good
way to clear troops in the first floor of a building. As modern wars move more into cities,
weapons based on pressure and thermal heat waves give the aggressor an advantage, for the
defending party loses the benefits of ballistic protection, and hence the importance of advanced
preparation is reduced. For the sake of the effectiveness of thermobaric weapons, it is argued that
the parties that in the last 20 years in a struggle for urban centers have only been more willing to
increase their use and development [26; 39].
6 Summary
6.1 Conclusions
The Thermobaric weapon is a thermal heat and pressure wave explosive weapon that seeks to
affect personnel, vehicles and equipment. In determining whether it is a thermobaric weapon or
an aerosol, one way to make it easier to define, think about how much ignition complexity is
needed to carry out an explosion. There is one contribution to a thermobaric weapon, ignition is
not complex unlike an aerosol. Aerosol sprays with large warheads are mainly used for large
regional areas, where the required concentration fuel/oxygen ratio for ignition is certain to occur.
However, the TOS-1 is an exception and affects the general target area rather than the individual
object. In this sense, the Russian terminology used by infantry is largely erroneous, since the
weapons have been based on TOS-1, and have been singly fired. Consistent terminology would
facilitate familiarization with the skill technology of professional personnel, and information
retrieval would not be too difficult when the use of terms is not confusing.
Thermobaric weapons produce damage by primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary means.
The most dangerous and far most effective means is the primary effect of the shock wave
causing damage by causing enormous compression forces in the body. Secondary injuries, which
include the effect of various fragments, are considerably less, as the shell of the weapon has not
been created to fragment. Tertiary injuries are causing damage as the weapon has been created,
surrounding the structures, to dissipate pressure effects by use of the structures around the
explosion, which is further emphasized in the urban environment. Quaternary injuries do not
extend as much as previous types of injury, but combustion in the immediate vicinity of a
thermobaric explosion depletes the use of oxygen making it extremely dangerous for the subject
to breathe. It can be assumed that the weapon is very effective against objects close by, which is
particularly suitable for fighting in urban environments where the distances are smaller than in
forest land.
The efficacy of the thermobaric weapon is based on the effective utilization of the pressure
effect. The damage effect gains extra power if the explosion is triggered in a closed state because
the smaller the space the more effectively the shock wave affects the target. The ability of the
pressure head to affect the other side of structural barriers and the immediate reaction in the
immediate vicinity will provide an effective impact on the affected area. Therefore, urban
conditions are better suited to the efficient use of the weapon, since all the features of the
explosion can be exploited.
The safe distances calculated according to safety regulations are considerably higher than those
declared for weapons. This is natural, but it says that the weapons are not as safe as advertised to
the limited effect as claimed. We need to look at the safety of weapons more by comparing the
danger zone with the fragment blast zone. In addition, the calculation method used to formulate
TNT equivalents compared with the explosive efficiency has its own challenges. Also, when
comparing safe distances, it should be considered when crossfire is used, a considerable amount
of protective equipment is required for nearby personnel, as in the case of a blast fragment
explosions, so the results cannot be directly compared to each other.
Thermobaric weapons penetration values of steel armor have not been reported by infantry and
their users have not been able to fire a weapon from just anywhere, for example, the gunman has
had to fire through a window or opening to access closed fortifications. The thermobaric missile
does not have a specific penetration for hard targets, and such explosion may interfere with the
thermobaric process. In this case, the explosive is triggered outside the object, causing the
damage to be considerably smaller than if the explosive penetrated inside the object. Hence,
effective use of a weapon requires an opening to allow the explosive to be delivered to the
enclosed space.
Protection against the Thermobaric weapon is difficult, but by isolating different room spaces,
designing overpressure release (blowout panels) in different parts of the building and minimizing
the amount of oxygen, for example, from storage facilities, can reduce the impact of the weapon.
Closing access to a structure can turn against itself if the aggressor is able to deliver the
explosive inside the fortification.
If future wars move into the urban environment, it is likely that the use of thermobaric weapons
will increase further because of their effectiveness and their use is not limited by different
agreements, for example CBRN weapon agreements. Therefore, it would be worthwhile to find
out more about thermobaric weapon technology to reliably determine the kind of threat value
that thermobaric weapons create.
6.2 Further Research Needs
The study has highlighted clear terminology difficulties, the harmonization of which would
clarify the handling of this technology in the Defense Forces Manual. In addition, the Handbook
of Protection has been behind technological developments and would require updating so that
professionals could more easily become familiar with the threat posed by thermobaric weapon
systems and relate its own activities to better respond to it. For a more detailed performance
assessment, more detailed information on the use of the explosive substance and more accurate
calculation methods are needed, as the traditional TNT equivalent method most often
underestimates performance. To determine the hazardous distance, it would have been possible
to use the formulas used for EOD scanning to determine a deadly distance rather than a safe
distance. Further research topics could take a increased study of thermobaric weapons, as the
infantry weapons that are now being processed are of the lowest technology.
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10 10-2017 The Use of Thermobaric Weapons: An English Translation from Finnish

  • 1. Robert Weinheimer* ORAC INTL LLC, Maricopa, Arizona e-mail: weinheimer@orbitelcom.com https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-weinheimer-baa78410/ ABSTRACT THE USE OF THERMOBARIC WEAPONS Kristian Oskar Vuorio, Cadet DEFENSE UNIVERSITY (A LANGUAGE TRANSLATION FROM FINNISH TO ENGLISH) FINNISH DOWNLOAD: https://www.doria.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/119929/Vuorio_KO.pdf?sequence=2 TRANSLATED FROM FINNISH TO ENGLISH BY GOOGLE TRANSLATOR: https://translate.google.com/ REDACTED BY ORAC INTL LLC: https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-weinheimer-baa78410/ Robert Weinheimer, CEO-Veteran/Owner at ORAC INTL, LLC, weinheimer@orbitelcom.com ORAC INTL, LLC (ORAC) ORDNANCE RESEARCH ANALYST CONSULTANT ORAC, is an Ordnance Research Analyst Consulting business located in Maricopa, Arizona, United States, representing international and domestic clients who seek to transfer energetic material technology. ORAC MISSION STATEMENT: (COMPANY OBJECTIVES) 1. Apply the laws of physics and engineering principles to analyze energetic material properties and characteristics for applications to ordnance technology for the aerospace, defense, law enforcement and commercial (oil, mining, automotive) industries. 2. Translate foreign language scientific and engineering papers on energetic materials and their applications in aerospace, defense, law enforcement and commercial (oil, mining, automotive) industries. 3. Client Technology Transfer Agent (TTA) for energetic material product contracts with US and foreign energetic material manufacturers for applications in aerospace, defense and commercial industries. ORAC Disclaimer: The Google Translator grammatical translation may have altered some grammar and thereby context of the original Finnish language paper. However, the translated context of this document has been reviewed, redacted and corrected to achieve comprehension to those trained in the science, engineering and art of energetic materials and their application to ordnance. 1. Pagination has changed from 38 pages to 39 with the inclusion of the foreword. 2. The table of contents is linked to the original GOOGLE English translation and not the redacted English translation presented herein. 3. Different online translators were not consistent in translating the same Finnish language words and phrases. 4. Literary license was applied where the translation was incomprehensible.
  • 2. DEFENSE UNIVERSITY: Use of Thermobaric Weapons Bachelor's thesis Cadet: Kristian Oskar Vuorio 99. The Cadet Course Army Combat Line Subject to which the work is related: Military Technology Repository: Course Library (MPKK Library) Time: March 2015 SUMMARY The study deals with the principles of thermobaric weapons as well as their uses (applications). The research method is a literature study and the perspective is technical war. The goal has been to form a clear picture for the reader how thermobaric weapons cause damage and how to use different current versions and to minimize their impact. The study deals only with the thermobaric weapons used by the United States and Russian infantry. This topic has previously been examined by the (Finland) Defense Forces in individual research reports which focused on handling weapon technology largely from a physical point of view and the phases of the development of the technology and their applications. The use of thermobaric weapons has increased since the 1980s and Russia is the pioneer. However, the United States has developed thermobaric weapons over the past decade, actively engaging their technology to gain more destructive power for the infantry soldier. The thermobaric weapon is a thermal heat, pressure, and blast effect used against personnel, thermobarics are much more efficient in urban assault environments as the weapon of attack, because of the difficulty to protect armed forces personnel. Damage to the target area is catastrophic therefore, you must be sure there are no civilians in the immediate vicinity. The study has calculated the safe distances for the use of thermobaric weapon danger areas set by Defense Forces Manual D 6.1 for blasting different quantities of thermobaric explosives in open and closed spaces. This thesis has tried to determine how the pressure waves behave in a closed space to understand how thermobaric weapons are more powerful in a closed space, which means the weapon is most effective in urban centers. However, it is also effective in forestland (open spaces) where the destructive distance is high, unless the person is protected. Use of testing methods produce their own challenges to deliver reliable results, but the test method works in a way to illustrate the effectiveness of thermobaric weapons. KEYWORDS thermobaric, aerosol, explosive, pressure, thermal heat, safety distances, combustion, protection
  • 3. USE OF THERMOBARIC WEAPONS TABLE OF CONTENTS 1 INTRODUCTION..........................................................................................................1 1.1 Research Problem and Research Issues..........................................................................1 1.2 Research Method............................................................................................................2 1.3 Trimming…………........................................................................................................2 2 THERMOBARIC WEAPON OPERATING PRINCIPLE............................................3 2.1 Background.....................................................................................................................3 2.2 Operation of Aerosol Removal.......................................................................................5 2.3 Operation of the Thermobaric Explosion........................................................................6 2.4 Pressure and thermal heat characteristics.....................................................................................7 2.5 Malicious activity for humans........................................................................................10 2.6 TNT Equivalent Method.................................................................................................11 2.7 The amount of oxygen required by the reaction.............................................................14 3 THERMOBARIC WEAPON HISTORY.......................................................................16 4 THERMOBARIC WEAPONS OF TODAY..................................................................18 4.1 RPO-Shmel and RPO PDM-A........................................................................................18 4.2 RG-60TB.........................................................................................................................19 4.3 SMAW-NO......................................................................................................................20 4.4 GM-94..............................................................................................................................21 4.5 Kornet - E and METIS-M1..............................................................................................22 4.6 RPG Thermobalaristic Rockets...................................................................................... 23 4.7 TOS-1 and TOS-1A........................................................................................................ 24 5 WEAPON SUITABILITY IN DIFFERENT ENVIRONMENTS................................. 25 5.1 General information........................................................................................................ 25 5.2 Forestland........................................................................................................................ 25 5.3 Residential Center........................................................................................................... 27 6 Summary......................................................................................................................... 28 6.1 Conclusions..................................................................................................................... 28 6.2 Further research needs..................................................................................................... 30
  • 4. USING THERMOBARIC ARTS 1 INTRODUCTION Thermobaric weapons are pressure, thermal heat and blast weapons. In World War II, Germany used thermobaric weapons against the Soviet Union. Their development however, did not start until the 1980s, when the military became needier to have an edge. Then the need for pressure, thermal heat heat and blast weapons in the use of war has continually increased to this day. This thesis on thermobaric weapons is defined in accordance with its operating principle and must not be confused with aerosol dispersants. Because the mode of action of aerosol is very similar, they are physical deviations and major applications for aerosol weapon systems. However, this thesis is based on thermobaric weapons. The research topic came up with a proposal to supplement the Defense Forces database quite well of the neglected technology. Not because of the uniqueness of the weapon system, all pioneering or conservative representatives have no clear picture of the thermobaric weapon system activities. It is also common for different sources to mix thermobaric weapons and Aerosol Weapons in the same category. This issue has not been considered by the Defense Forces, except in individual cases in research reports focusing mostly on the topic of physics leaving the phases of weapon technology evolution and applications less aware. After studying the subject, you will notice how essential it is to understand thermobaric technology so this thesis also examines the physical function of the weapon system criteria. The starting point of this thesis was to find out how the weapon system is suitable for different purposes for use in combat situations, as well as mapping the various weapons of the present great powers, who make use of the thermobaric explosion as a means of effect. 1.1 Research problem and research questions: The purpose of the study is to find out what the principle of thermobaric weapons are and how and what kind of applications have been developed. The underlying questions of the study are: 1- What is the performance of thermobaric weapons? 2- What is a thermobaric weapon? 3- How do thermobaric weapons produce damage? 4- How are thermobaric weapons used efficiently?
  • 5. 1.2. Method of research The research method is a literature study, the perspective of which is the military technical literature and press articles. (Finnish) Defense Forces Techniques have been used as source field trials commissioned by a research institute and internet sources. It was difficult to find acceptable research primary sources. Russia is the most prominent and most active developer of thermobaric weapons and many of the original sources are Russian authors. Therefore, many sources have had to be translated in English from online sources. However, the sources used in the thesis have been approved with the help of the expert. In addition, Kariniemi and Kujala's 2007 Literature Report have been a great bibliography help. 1.3 Trimming The study is limited to dealing with the use of the paramilitary thermobaric weapons used by their infantry. This includes the weapons carried by an individual fighter as well as the various mobile attached weapon systems. In addition, the study deals with the United States, Russia and the Soviet-style thermobaric weapons, which can be judged to be well represented from their current average performance. Various weapons have been focused on handling thermobaric characteristics, giving the examination of general characteristics less attention.
  • 6. 2 THERMOBARIC WEAPON OPERATING PRINCIPLE 2.1 Background The thermobaric weapon is classified as a volumetric weapon. This category also includes aerosol explosives. Thermobaric explosives are used to spread the most powerful pressure, thermal heat and blast wave and thus destroy the target [1; 2; 3]. They are different from conventional explosives so that the volume explosions are not intended only to get the most powerful pressure wave possible. In traditional explosives, the lethal effect is based on injuries caused by the maximum value of this pressure wave [4] as can be seen from Figure 1. It should be noted separately that conventional explosive substances refer to the so-called "high explosives" category, for example Trinitrotoluene (TNT). Comparing the impact of volatile explosives on that the category only looks at the behavior of the explosion-forming waves and not consider the fragility of these weapons. For example, the pressure of a 105mm fragment grenade is below 100kPa five meters away which would reach 50% for personnel having the likelihood of perforation of the eardrum. With a pressure effect of 250 kPa only one percent probability of producing lethal injuries for the subject will be achieved [5, p. 13]. It is clear, however, that the intrusion effect in that weapon will cause death and the weapon's intention is not to use the pressure wave as the main means of effectiveness. The pressure wave of shock- wielding weapons is also largely depleted by the propagation of the fragmentation of the projectile and the movement energy allocated to the shards, unlike pulsed-action weapons in which the outer shell is very thin [6]. The effectiveness of volume balances. Therefore, consideration should be given to the pressure and thermal heat wave effect which is better suited than the effect produced by fragments. Figure 1: 1.1 Pressure change over time in a thermo- and conventional explosive [6]
  • 7. The use of titles is variable and the "volume balance" term is not used much in the world. Part of the reason may not be that the armies of different countries necessarily reveal their weapon’s explosive composition, which would be important if the weapon systems were to be categorized roughly aerosol and thermobaric weapons. That's why when talking about the same weapon system different sources can use different terminology. Major versions of a thermobaric weapon can be compared to tactical nuclear weapons with their power and the objective [7, p. 9]. In 2007 Russia launched the largest in the world conventional counter to the US BLU-82 bomb that was in the past was the biggest. The BLU-82 was technologically thermobaric, while the Russian version was a thermobaric or aerosol explosion [8; 9]. Technique of either does not apply to the same provisions as, for example, nuclear or chemical and biological weapons. The benefits of nuclear weapons are the lack of deposition and the absence of international laws limiting the development of the weapon or sales [10]. But the biggest versions are from the air-dropped bombs which do not belong to the Army's fleet, where this this thesis was limited. The Defense Forces Protection Manual takes account of the balance of matter by saying that aerosol sprays can be in some cases as burn weapons [11, p.122]. Also in the manual, it is mentioned in a relatively misleading publication that there are not even aerosol bombs yet in the field use [11], even though the Soviet Union had been using weapons in battles since the 1980s. The Protection Manual defines flame throwing devices that spraying combustion agent or single- type devices for flamethrowers containing capsules [11; s 130]. The manual does not mention any sophisticated thermobaric explosives at all. According to the Protection Manual, the "fueling" is aimed at destroying or paralyzing an opponent's forces, forcing their movement to areas that are advantageous to their own operations, causing them to be exhausted, and to commit them to extinguishing fires. The weapon can also destroy the enemy's weapon systems and material. "The Russians have said, among other things, that it is good for extinguishing fire due to their efficient oxygen consumption [6]. The Protection Manual states that since fires are a key part of the definition of fuel. It is therefore difficult to classify a thermobaric weapon as a fuel because it does not meet that definition. The use of the term thermobaric weapon is confusing in other states. In Russia, for example, thermobaric weapons, aerosols and combustion weapons are categorized directly into "flame weapons" or flame-incendiary weapons [12; 13] which makes it difficult to sort out the thermobaric and aerosol-based weapons. It is also common for the aerosol and thermobaric weapons to be confused in the terminological sense when talking about volume balances. The Defense Forces Manual' guides, however, say the troops use flame throwers and fuels to spread fires during training exercise [14].
  • 8. 2.2 Operation of aerosol explosive The operation of the aerosol explosive is based on two stages: fuel dispersion and the formation of the aerosol blast. The event is two-stage, with two different inputs. The fuel is a highly flammable and easily vaporizing material such as propylene oxide and the explosion can be strengthened with metal powders. [15; 16] The impact on living personnel is based on the temperature, long-term pressure cycle, the subsequent vacuum and the oxygen in the environment [16] of the explosion-forming fireball. The problem with the aerosol explosive is the ignition conditions required by the fuel contained therein. For example, gasoline will only ignite if it is 1.3% to 6% in the surrounding air. This is hindered using aerosol explosives in different conditions [15; 6]. Because of a rather similar policy and the different classification methods in countries, aerosol explosives are generally termed "thermobaric" explosives but they are two different weaponry systems. Because of the special conditions required by the aerosol explosion, these weapons are mainly used for regional effect because of the required concentration ratio [15]. Examples of aerosol sprays include the BM-30 Smerch rocket launcher. The weapon consists of 12 tubes that can be used to fire a rocket containing 100 kilograms of fire material. [17]
  • 9. 2.3 Operation of a thermobaric explosive Thermobaric explosives are fueled military explosives whose efficiency has been enhanced by adding reactive metals to the explosive [16]. The thermobaric explosive works in three phases. However, these different steps occur in part simultaneously and seamlessly with one input, unlike the aerosol explosive. Each stage affects a specific feature of the explosion process, so the explosive can be modified to a desirable outcome, for example, enhancing the explosion's ability to break the walls of a building. The name of the explosive and its specialty when compared to other explosives is based on the reaction of the third stage alloy and the reaction with oxygen. The alloy may contain only a so-called fuel metal reacting with oxygen, but the mixture may also contain other metals designed to enhance the explosion process, for example by lowering the ignition temperature of the aluminum [6; 16; 18]. In the first stage, an anaerobic detonation is performed that determines the peak value of the explosion event. During the event there is a shock wave, behind which there is a partial thermo- chemical reaction zone. At this stage, the shock wave is still only millimeters in dimension. The fuel particles themselves are almost unreactive during this microsecond phase. This step determines the ability of the explosive to defeat the object's protection [6; 18]. In the second stage, the gas phase particle plate applied by the first stage occurs anaerobic reaction of metal particles and fuel particle degradation products with. The metal particles in this phase should have a spherical shape and a grain size fine so that the reactive area is as large as possible. The second stage is of a dimensional nature centimeter and takes place within hundreds of microseconds. The reaction determines the process the magnitude of the intermediate pressure, which in turn affects the ability of the explosive to break the object's constructions [6; 16; 18]. In the third stage, the fuel and the remaining metal particles react with oxygen to form a fireball that sucks in all the available of oxygen. Since the volume of metal and oxygen reaction products is small compared to the original gas volume, this does not increase the effectiveness of the shock wave, as opposed to traditional explosives based on the volume of newly formed gases. The thermal heat generated by the reaction, however, reinforces the pressure wave, while also making it longer lasting, though not necessarily of the same high initial pressure of the explosion. The reaction only ceases after all the particles of the explosive have reacted with oxygen. The metal particles in this step should be spherical or flaky, and coarse grain size so that the particles fly as far as possible and burn longer. The third step determines the ability of the explosive to cause direct damage to personnel or material [6; 16; 18].
  • 10. 2.4. Pressure and thermos properties and characteristics Thermobaric weapons produce much more damage than conventional explosives. This is due to the use of explosive overpressure and thermal heat wave. With a conventional explosive, the pressure effect is only generated by detonation, which deteriorates the longer the pressure surface advances. This advancing overpressure of about 8 km/s will cause damage to the target by breaking it or projecting environmental objects at high speeds [6]. The overpressure generated by the thermobaric explosion is 4 km/s, which is slower than the overpressure generated by a traditional detonating explosive [6]. However, the thermobaric explosion will get more energy after the detonation because of the thermobaric thermal heat overpressure will deteriorate considerably slower and the subject will undergo a longer period of pressure and thermal heat. As large molecules of oxygen change to small oxides, a high vacuum is generated [16]. The vacuum is longer than in a traditional explosive, as is clear from Figure 1. As a result, the reaction impulse forces are higher and the explosive can be said to be much more destructive both for humans and for structures. The principle of the impulse force is shown in Figure 2 and the effects of the shock wave effect in time from Table 1 [6]. Figure 2. (FINNISH): Dependency of impulse power on the life time Source [19]
  • 11. Table 1: Change in impact of the pressure depending on the time [16] PRESSURE 30 µs 100 µs 300 µs 1 ms 30 ms Effect/duration Limited 0.77 bar 0.56 bar 0.42 bar 0.30 bar 0.22 bar Effects Average 2.70 bar 1.88 bar 1.35 bar 0.94 bar 0.68 bar Effects Serious 3.04 bar 2.22 bar 1.67 bar 1.22 bar 0.92 bar Effects Deadly 5.34 bar 3.64 bar 2.80 bar 2.00 bar 1.47 bar The smaller the space of the thermobaric explosion, the stronger the overpressure, the particles being better mixed with air [20] and the reflection of the shock from the surrounding walls [2, s 32-33] as shown in Figures 3 and 4. Generally, according to the weapon system guide the reflection formed by the shock wave perpendicular to the surface of the wall is about ten times higher than that of the incoming shock wave [21, p. 322]. Because of this, the most dangerous places indoors during a thermobaric explosion are to be close to walls, especially corners. The overpressure depends on the volume of the closed space [20, p. 4]. The effectiveness of thermobaric weapons is also increased by the overpressure and thermal heat wave's ability to act behind the corners. Fire-based weapons can be protected by going beyond the barrier [15].
  • 12. Figure 3. (FINNISH): Behavior of the print run in open space [6] Figure 4. Behavior of the print run in the closed state [6]
  • 13. When a 0.8kg thermobaric energetic material was blown up in a 15.73m3 cylinder, it reached a maximum pressure of about 7.50 bar and maintained a pressure of 2.0 bar for a relatively long time after the explosion. [20]. Similar measurements were obtained with a detonation calorimeter when detonating 1.5 grams of thermobaric energetic material in which the explosive capsules were sized for the tunnels. In addition, the study showed that by minimizing the amount of oxygen in the environment by replacing it with nitrogen, the pressure was reduced as shown in Figure 5 [20, 11]. In principle, therefore, spaces where a person is not forced to reside can be protected from a thermobaric weapon by substituting oxygen shielding gas. For example, storage facilities could thus gain additional protection by reducing the oxygen ratio. (a) Schematic of Test Chamber (b) Air Atmosphere (c) Nitrogen atmosphere Figure 5. Comparison of pressure records for 0.8-kg TNT charges (blue curves) with 0.8-kg Tritonal (80%TNT, 20%Al) charges (red curves) in the 15.75 m3 cylindrical tank (a) [20, 11]. A 2227 ºC maximum temperature was obtained from the thermobaric explosion cloud created by a 1.5-gram explosive during an experimental and computational study. The temperature was reached in the third phase when the metal particles began to heat up air. The air heated metal particles rose only 727 ºC. In the computer modeling of the study, the maximum pressure was 10.0 bar [21, 6 - 7]. When comparing the effect of thermobaric heat note that the overpressure is over beyond [6], which is therefore more important for the assault weapon.
  • 14. 2.5 The Impact on Humans Today, explosion injuries are divided into four classes based on the type of incident: primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary [23]. An example of these injuries formation in closed volume mode is shown in Figure 6. Primary injury includes explosion pressure and thermal injuries. Pressure generated by the impulse force causes enormous force on the body. Body internal organs with air (lungs, esophagus and ears) are particularly sensitive. In the worst case, the lungs flatten due to compression and other thoracic organs cause pulmonary bleeding, swelling, pulmonary rupture, and eventually cardiac vascular blockage [23; 6]. Secondary injuries are the result of fragmentation of the weapon or fragmentation of the environment. In a thermobaric weapon, the shock effect is less because the shell of the weapon is not designed to increase fragmentation but to facilitate the detonation event. Usually, metal or other debris will be blasted into the eyes due to explosion pressure [23; 6]. Tertiary injuries are caused by a reversal of overpressure and low pressure. During over- pressure, the person is thrown backwards, but the vacuum begins to pull people back. During that retreat, the sudden change in direction is especially hard on the person's neck. The person is usually thrown with strong force toward the wall and at worst impact can occur damage to the limbs. The collapse of buildings injuries is calculated in this category [23; 6; 18]. Quaternary injuries are caused by the explosive combustion resulting in oxygen deficiency. Apart from choking, it includes all the mechanisms that cause burns, metallic and toxic poisoning and infections caused by contamination [23]. Figure 6. Effects of a Thermobaric explosion on personnel in a cave [6]
  • 15. 2.6 TNT equivalent procedure The TNT equivalent method calculates the power produced by explosive gases from different explosives relative to trinitrotoluene. In this study, the TNT equivalent of a thermobaric weapon compared to DEFENSE FORCES MANUAL D 6.1 for safe guarding at safe distances. The way you tell is at what distance a person has been required to have a protective gear with high probability to be completely safe. The conference held in 2011 showed that the TNT equivalent method the calculated result averages an error of 23%. At most, the error was 50% and often the method gave a too low efficiency value to the actual one [24]. The reasons for the mistake were that the method does not consider an expansion of gases after the blast explosion or the emergence of new gases. In the same context, an alternative was introduced calculation method for the TNT equivalent method, where the error was only 4% [24], more specific the method is unlikely to be even more widely used. That is why we must critically pay attention to the accuracy of the TNT equivalents of different sources and to think more of the results as indicative. In addition, it is to be noted that the safe distance table of Defense Forces Manual D 6.1 has unequivocal separation of clearance distances for blasting surface implements and steel fragments. The thermobaric weapon shell has been created to minimize restraining the explosion pressure and minimize the conversion of the explosion pressure to kinetic energy for the shell fragments [6]. However, the metal honeycomb produces a small spatter effect. In this study, the weapon is compared with the protective distances required for surface loading and not for blasting steel fragments safe distances. If the number of explosives in the weapon is not the same as in the table, linearly interpolate with the two nearest values using the possible clearance distance. The reason for using the two closest values is to print the line nonlinearly, so using the two closest values will result in a minimized error. In this work, the interpolation is calculated directly by the excel table alignment function. The Defense Forces Manual D 6.1 has the absolute safe distance from explosion in the open. Distances given by the manual will, with very high probability, provide a completely safe distance from the explosive. The Defense Forces Manual has taken into consideration the protected fighter, which means that the force loss due to a protective obstacle has been considered as shown in Table 2. If a person is too close to an explosion, there is possibly the case for primary, secondary, tertiary and even extreme quaternary injuries. Mass detonations have their own safe distances, which are shown in Table 3. Interior minimum volume must be met by the clearance distance between the explosive and the blast. In addition to the distance and minimum volume, the area must be protected from the overpressure with double-sided protection, approved helmet, protective cover, eye protection and covered exposed skin and use some structural barrier against the blast. The manual gives the expert permission to set the distance even shorter provided that the protection arrangements and circumstances allow [25].
  • 16. Table 2 Shielding distances for blasting surface inserts in the opening [25] Explosive Quantity (kg) Protected covered and durable shielding from fragments (m) Protected covered and durable shielding from fragments (m) Unprotected from missiles and shrapnel (radius of the hazard zone, meters) Hearing protection raja (m) 0.001 3 5 20 30 0.06 8 20 80 120 0.2 11 30 120 180 0.5 15 40 160 240 1.0 18 50 200 300 5.0 30 90 350 500 10.0 40 110 450 650 20.0 50 140 550 800 50.0 70 190 750 1100 100.0 90 240 1000 1400 500.0 150 400 1600 2400 Table 3. Shielding distance when sludge is used indoors [25] Batch size Safety distances from the front pressure wave (m), Minimum interior volume for safe chamber overpressure (m3 ), 1g 2 3 10g 5 12 30 g 8 35 50 g 9 58 75 g 10 87 100 g 11 116 200 g 13 232 300 g 14 348 400 g 16 464 500 g 17 580 750 g 19 869 1000 g 21 1159 1500 g 24 1738 2000 g 27 2318 2500 g 29 2897 3000 g 30 3476
  • 17. 2.7 The amount of oxygen required by the reaction In addition to the pressure and thermal effects, explosions also generate toxic gases and oxygen deficits. In the third stage of the thermobaric explosion the magnitude of oxygen deficiency can be calculated in theory the explosion reaction and the quantities of fuel and particles of metal can be calculated. At this stage, metal particles react with oxygen to form metal oxide as a reaction product. The total mass of various weapons and the general name of the explosive substance is quite easy to find. The problem accurate to obtain a calculation result will be the exact composition of the explosive substance and the various components of the mixture relationship to each other. Public sources have been found that the United States SMAW-NE D used explosive PBXIH-135: a. Mixed metal includes aluminum, as a binder PCP TMNETN added and the explosive material octogen (HMX). Of these, only the first component, the metal, reacts with the oxygen significantly. The explosive total weight is 1.8 kg. Accurate mixing ratio is not evident [26; 27]. Making the case considered in which the entire warhead half of aluminum (Al) and a second half of the hydrocarbon-containing binder and the explosive mixture of ((CH2)n). In this case, the aluminum as well as other explosive reacts with oxygen molecules to form Alumina. 2 Al + 1.5 O2 → Al2 O3 m (Al) = 26.98 g/mol m (Al) = 900g → N (Al) = M (Al) / M (Al) mol = 33.36 N (O2) = 0.75 * n (Al) mol = 25.02 (CH2)n + 1.5 O2 → CO2 + H20 M ((CH2)n) = 14.03 g/mol m ((CH2)n) = 900g → N ((CH2)n) m = ((CH2)n)/M ((CH2)n) = 64.15 moles → n (O2) = 1.5 * N ((CH2)n) = 96.22 moles N (O 2) Total = 25.02 96.22 mol +96.22 mol = 121.24 Vm =V/m, Vm = 22.4 L/mol (ideal gas) V (O2) = N(O2) Total * V m = M * 121.24 *22.4 L/mol = 2715.78 L → 2.71 m3 oxygen
  • 18. The air is 20% oxygen, meaning that the explosive needs 13.58 m3 of air to burn completely (V(O2)/0.2). If we consider the explosive charge within the explosive living room having a height according to the Finnish Building Regulations of at least 2,5m [28], the explosion consumes oxygen to the surface area of 5.43 m2 size of a territory. In addition, the explosion will produce other gases harmful to humans, such as aluminum oxide, which is harmful to breathe. The conclusion can say that the oxygen consumption is not by thermobaric explosion, one of the largest producers of damage, even if the explosion would use the oxygen in the lung. Calculated area is still very small, and the target is exposed to the primary, secondary and tertiary effects which probably already achieved the desired effect. However, thermobaric explosion quaternary injuries are much more likely to occur than with conventional explosive materials because the oxygen is being used more efficiently as well as the metallic particles remaining in the air may make it difficult to breathe.
  • 19. 3 THERMOBARIC HISTORY Russia has been a pioneer in the development of thermobaric and aerosol weapons. The reason for this was, among other things, the performance requirements imposed by the Soviet Union and later by Russia's wars. The United States has also increased the use of this technology in its own struggles. While the Germans used thermobarics in World War II, it never made it into mass production and was forgotten for a long time. In the 1970s rose in the Soviet Union the idea of rocket launchers, which would use the advantage of thermobaric increase of pressure based on the effect of the thermal heat wave [29]. The reason for this was the need to get rockets more effective, because the artillery indirect fire was a vital breakthrough in the then-offensive grounded tactics and the Russians wanted to use conventional weapons as far as possible and not nuclear weapons. Later thermobaric artillery was found to be applicable to a more accurate the destruction of a single item such as fortifications [30 170-174 189 p.; 47 p. 3]. The Soviet leadership estimates that the pressure-bearing weapons are well suited to the threat of mass- military forces formed by China as a good tool for destroying personnel [29]. Originally, an aerosol bomb was developed to clear undergrowth and mines [31 p. 3]. The clearing method is sensible, as performed by shooting or blast effects clearance requires a direct hit, which must be strong enough to break the mine, while thermal heat and pressure wave may blow up the igniter [11, p.122]. The Soviet Union got the TOS-1 thermobaric weapon system based on the volume of arms completed in the early 1980s. The weapon system consisted of rocket launchers mounted on the T-72 tracked vehicle. Around the same time the ready to fire from the shoulder RPO-A Shmel rocket launcher was obtained. The thermobaric rocket launcher was first used in the 1980s by the Soviet Union during the war in Afghanistan, but their use was more on a trial stage and not to be shared with forces on a large scale [32]. Thermobaric weapons systems were wider used in the Chechnya wars where they proved to be effective. Especially the cheaper to fire from the shoulder RPO-A Shmel flamethrower, which demonstrated its usefulness in urban conditions. During the year 1994-1996 war, the Russian troops did not receive traditional blast impact weapons thanks to their sharp-shooters at machine gun nests or dens, in which case a convenient shoulder-fired rocket launcher would be effective if available [6; 14; 33]. When conflict broke out in the 1999 Chechen war the Russian Army attack slowed down in Grozny city. The mountains were considered as territory for the use of chemical weapons and to promote thermobaric attack. The Russian political leadership apparently vetoed the use of chemical weapons, but allowed the use of ground-delivered thermobaric weapons. Air-delivered thermobaric systems were only used outside the city [33].
  • 20. The newer models developed by RPO-A Shmel and subsequently formally classified on the Russian manufacturer's website as flame throwers or flame weapons [34; 35]. The reason for the designation may be that the weapon was replaced by a previously flamethrower, and in the earlier version there was no armor-penetration explosive charge [36; 37]. It is possible that the designation aims to emphasize the purpose of the weapon, which is clearly emphasized in the destruction of personnel [36; 37] and separates it from anti-armor control. For example, in the war of Afghanistan RPO-A was not reported in use to destroy tanks [33]. In the United States, the effectiveness of the thermobaric weapons was recognized and the country began to actively develop its own weapon systems at the turn of the 2000s. In 2003 US Infantry received its first weapon based on a thermobaric explosion. It was a 40mm XM1060 grenade shot from the M32 grenade launcher. The implementation of this grenade was very fast. In November 2002, the troops submitted a request for a thermobaric weapon that would be better suited to Afghanistan's battles. Using the old technology in just five months on request, the XM1060 was in active use by the troops [38]. The USA’s desire to gain more effectiveness in battlefield thermobarics has the M-72 LAW modern version of the rocket launcher, which has a thermobaric warhead used for battle [26]. Russia's intention to modernize 70% of the Army by 2020 with the Flame (thermobaric) weapons are classified by the modernization of the subject. CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological & Nuclear) Force Commander, Gen. Eduard Cherkasov said the efficiency of the flame weapon will increase significantly after the upgrade [12]. “Shortly, infantry flame units will receive new weaponry with higher fire precision and penetration before exploding effect, ability to destroy fortified emplacements, armored equipment, and personnel in trenches,” Flame (thermobaric) weapons are very effective in close combat and are not only physically destructive but also have a psychological effect on an Enemy" [39]. The task of the Russian Army CBRN forces, among other things, is to produce losses to the enemy using combustion weapons [41].
  • 21. 4 THERMOBARIC WEAPONS OF TODAY 4.1 RPO A Shmel and RPO PDM-A RPO-Shmel is a Russian-made rocket launcher that was approved for use by the Russian Army in 1988 but was not available for production due to lack of funding. The weapon was large-scale produced in 2001, after the war in Chechnya, as the need was observed for a suitable rocket launcher for urban combat [37]. The thermobaric operation is based on aerosol explosion according to the manufacturer's website [35] but, among other things thermobaric bomb literature report said weapon is a thermobaric bomb [18]. The purpose of the previous version was to only effect the surface superficially. In a later version a warhead was attached to the explosive, the purpose of which is to penetrate a wall or weak armored surface, after which the thermobaric explosive itself is triggered within the object [37]. Weapon can be seen in Figure 7. The weapon is intended to be used "against the walled city compartments, mountain and arable terrain as well as the fortifications, unprotected and lightly armored vehicles" [34]. The weapon is a disposable and is intended to be carried in two pieces. The rifle with a launcher section attached to the barrel can launch a thermobaric grenade. The weapon warhead contains explosives weighing 2.1kg, which when firing in the open has a lethal radius of area 50m² on unprotected personnel, but in a confined space the thermobaric grenade kill radius increases to 80m² [35; 37]. TNT equivalent has not been reported for the RPO-A. RPO family of weapons known as flame throwers by the manufacturer's website even if it is a rocket launcher. The reason for this may be the manufacturer's desire to distinguish from rocket launched anti-tank weapons, as thermobaric weapons is not defined in history of any armor steel penetration in any source and, the rocket launcher replaced the previously used family of flame throwers [36; 37]. In addition, the manufacturer website mentions the warhead to be effective against everything except armored vehicles [34]. The war in Afghanistan speaks for itself, even though the soldiers did not end up damaging armored vehicles with a RPO-A [33]. The thermobaric grenade is also said to be suitable for breaking rivers' ice, destroying potential avalanches, and suppressing fires [6]. A newer version of the RPO-A Shmel (Bumble Bee), RPO-M was introduced in 2006. Unlike earlier version, the manufacturer informed the warhead to be thermobaric with an aerosol explosive. The warhead size has been increased 3kg, which according to the manufacturer doubles lethality thus corresponding to the TNT equivalent by 5-6kg amount of explosive material. In addition, maximum range has been raised to 1700 meters, steady aim is improved by adding optics, the frame and the total weight was reduced to 8.8kg [34]. When comparing 6 to 6.1 kilograms of TNT, the values given in Table 4 are obtained as safe distances.
  • 22. Table 4. Calculated for safety distances RPO-M weapon 32 meters Protected in a covered, fragment shielded, sustainable shelter 94 meters Protected by off-road obstacle, behind timber (respectively) 370 meters Unprotected affected area and shrapnel 36 meters Safety distance charge (m) from the front pressure wave 6950 m3 The minimum interior volume (m3) for survivable chamber pressure 2780 m2 The volume required for surface-affected 2.5-meter high room Figure 7 RPO Shmel A rocket launcher tube with thermobaric rocket next to it [40]
  • 23. 4.2 RG-60TB RG-60TB is a Russian-produced thermobaric hand grenade, which contains 240 grams explosives. It is a fragmentation hand grenade used by the Finnish Defense Forces, activated by removing the safety pull ring to release the handle whereby blowing up the grenade. The explosion is followed by thermobaric reaction. The RG-60TB has a TNT equivalent explosive corresponding to 550-660 grams impulse. The hand grenade is intended for use against personnel, causing havoc within 7 meters radius [41]. For comparison, the Defense Forces hand grenade effect is 15 meters radius from the explosion and the occasional big fragments can cause damage to the opponent from that distance [42, p.180]. However, consideration must be given to the protection against both disruptive effects, fragment and thermobaric. The fragmentation hand grenade weapons are easier to protect against behind a strong enough barrier. Thermobaric grenades are more difficult to protect against as they go behind barrier protection. When comparing 660 grams of TNT Defense Forces Manual D-6.1 values obtained are reported in Table 5 for safe clearances. Table 5. Calculated for safety distances RG 60TB 15,96 meters Protected in a covered, fragment shielded, sustainable shelter 43,2 meters Protected by off-road obstacle, behind timber (respectively) 172,8 meters Unprotected affected area and shrapnel 18,28 meters Safety distance charge (m) from the front pressure wave 764,96 m3 The minimum interior volume (m3) for survivable chamber pressure 305,984 m2 The volume required for surface-affected 2.5-meter high room (RG-60TB Thermobaric Grenade)
  • 24. 4.3 SMAW-NE United States created a balance for infantrymen primarily to increase their ability to effect the enemy fortified personnel and can also be used as an anti-tank alternative weapon [43]. The weapon can use rockets for various purposes, one of which is thermobaric, which is used against entrenched enemy personnel [43; 27]. The rocket is designed to penetrate through a wall to the target. In the US battle for Fallujah "SMAW Gunners became the expert in determining which wall to shoot to cause the roof to collapse and crush the insurgents fortified inside interior rooms." The NE round was supposed to be able to go through a brick wall, but in practice Gunners had to fire through a window or make a hole with an anti-tank Rocket [1]. The weapon is shown in Figure 8. The explosive has a mass of 1.8kg PBXIH 135-O [27]. The TNT equivalent is not specified, but was about equivalent value for double the quantity of explosives of the RG-60TB. The TNT value in this case should be 3.6kg. When comparing this amount of TNT Defense Forces Manual D-6.1 values obtained are reported in Table 6 for safe clearances. Table 6. Calculated for safety distances SMAW-NE-caliber weapon. 25,8 meters Protected in a covered, fragment shielded, sustainable shelter 76 meters Protected by off-road obstacle, behind timber (respectively) 297,5 meters Unprotected affected area and shrapnel 31,2 meters Safety distance charge (m) from the front pressure wave 4170,8 m3 The minimum interior volume (m3) for survivable chamber pressure 1668,32 m2 The volume required for surface-affected 2.5-meter high room Figure 8. SMAW weapon ready for use [44]
  • 25. 4.4 GM-94 GM-94 is a Russian-made grenade launcher which fires 43 mm grenades. The launcher is capable of firing high explosive, frag, thermobaric, smoke and tear gas canisters, rubber slugs and other non-lethal payloads. The weapon is intended for urban city battles having a range of 300 meters. The VGM-93 thermobaric grenade blast area radius is said to be 3 meters with a safe distance of over 10 meters from the explosion. Fragmentation is minimized by using plastic projectiles which destroys the fragment effect but the pressure and thermal heat effect by the thermobaric energetic material is increased. The thermobaric grenade VGM-93 weighs 250 grams, including 160 grams of thermobaric energetic material. A direct hit projectile is capable to penetrate brick walls of 10-12 cm thick and make a hole in an 8 mm thick steel plate [45]. The GM-94 grenade launcher is shown in Figure 9. The assumption is made that the TNT equivalent values for a double thermobaric energetic material is under the amount in RG-60TB. In this case, a value of 360 grams. When comparing this quantity of TNT, Defense Forces Manual D-6.1 obtain values reported in Table 7 for safe clearances. Table 7. Calculated for safety distances GM-94 weapon. 13,13 meters Protected in a covered, fragment shielded, sustainable shelter 35,3 meters Protected by off-road obstacle, behind timber (respectively) 141,3 meters Unprotected affected area and shrapnel 15,2 meters Safety distance charge (m) from the front pressure wave 417,6 m3 The minimum interior volume (m3) for survivable chamber pressure 167 m2 The volume required for surface-affected 2.5-meter high room Figure 9. GM-94 Source [45]
  • 26. 4.5 Kornet-E and METIS-M1 Kornet-E is a Russian, tripod mounted, anti-tank missile launcher for firing laser guided rockets. The Kornet-E was originally developed against armored vehicles, but later developed with a thermobaric missile, the 9N133F-1 version is used against buildings, armored and lightly armored vehicles and against personnel on the ground. The missile’s TNT equivalent amount is 10 kg of explosive [46; 47; 48]. On the manufacturer's website, the missile is alleged to be an aerosol [47], but the cross-sectional view on the pages gives an impression of a RPO Shmel being more consistent with the manufacturer's website terminology. The firing device is shown in Figure 10. The newer version, Kornet-EM, 9М133FМ-2, version is used against structures. The TNT-equivalent values is also 10 kg. It is noteworthy that the device is capable of firing newer missiles[46; 48]. Kornet-EM is also an automated version that can be attached to a vehicle wherein the rate of fire increases [49]. When comparing 10kg of TNT, Defense Forces Manual D-6.1 obtained values reported in Table 8 for safe clearances. Table 8. Calculated for safety distances Kornet-E and Kornet-EM 40 meters Protected in a covered, fragment shielded, sustainable shelter 110 meters Protected by off-road obstacle, behind timber (respectively) 450 meters Unprotected affected area and shrapnel 44 meters Safety distance charge (m) from the front pressure wave 11582 m3 The minimum interior volume (m3) for survivable chamber pressure 4632,8 m2 The volume required for surface-affected 2.5-meter high room Russia has also developed a newer anti-tank missile firing device, Metis-M1 which launches the thermobaric missile 9М131FM, this version is designed to be used against structures. The exact composition for the explosive substance contained in the missile is not reported, so this thesis does not explain the device in more detail.
  • 27. Figure 10 Kornet E firing missiles device Source: [47]
  • 28. 4.6 RPG Thermobaric Rockets TBG-7V has a thermobaric warhead, which is a secondary effect following the blast fragmentation. The RPG-7 rocket launcher is used for launching the TBG-7V. The thermobaric rocket is claimed to be effective against personnel up to a 300m3 sized rooms and 2-meter trench railings. The warhead lethal radius is announced to be 10 meters [50] which likely takes place in open detonation. The rocket weighs 4.5kg in its entirety, but its payload weight is not indicated separately. The rocket range is only 150 meters due to the weight of the rocket, which is nearly twice heavier than other rockets [50]. The Russian version can be compared to the Bulgarian thermobaric rocket, GTB-7VS having a reported total weight of 4.4kg, and TNT equivalent of two pounds. The only external difference is the slightly different shaped end piece [51]. TBG-7 warhead format is seen in Figure 11. TBG-29V is a newer RPG-29 rocket thermobaric weapon, the declared destructive power is one as great as TBG-7V's. However, the rocket weighs 6.7kg which is likely explained by increased range by, which is 500 meters. The penetrating warhead when triggered creates an opening, the thermobarics has 50m3 volume destructive power within the building [52]. When comparing 2kg of TNT, Defense Forces Manual D-6.1 obtained values reported in Table 9 for safe clearances. Table 9. The calculated safety distances for TBG-7V warhead in battle 21 meters Protected in a covered, fragment shielded, sustainable shelter 60 meters Protected by off-road obstacle, behind timber (respectively) 237,5 meters Unprotected affected area and shrapnel 27 meters Safety distance charge (m) from the front pressure wave 2318 m3 The minimum interior volume (m3) for survivable chamber pressure 927,2 m2 The volume required for surface-affected 2.5-meter high room Figure 11: TBG-7 warhead [53]
  • 29. 4.7 TOS 1 and 1A, TOS-1 was introduced by the Soviet Union in 1988, it is a rocket launcher mounted on the T-72 tank body. The first version was used for the wars in Afghanistan and Chechnya and achieved good results. TOS-1 includes 30 firing tubes which may be loaded with rockets containing aerosol explosive rockets. Weapon systems’ rocket range is 0,4-3,5 km. Firing of all the tubes takes 7.5 to 15 seconds, because the user can select to fire one or two at a time. All 30 rockets firing produce a destruction zone of 200 x 400 meters in size (blast area of 80,000 m2) . NATO countries do not currently have any similar kind of weapon system [54; 55; 56]. The later version of TOS-1A was introduced in 2001. It has reduced the number of tubes to 24, but the length of the pipes has been increased, resulting in a maximum range of 6 kilometers. Launching all the pipes takes either 6 or 12 seconds [54; 55]. A new version of the rocket launcher was introduced in 2012 with a reported range of 6 km and of 90kg of explosive material, with the firing of all tubes having a coverage of 40,000 m2 [55; 57]. The reported damage area conflicts with the older version, as the size of the disaster area has decreased by half even though the number of rockets has been reduced by only six. This weapon is shown in Figure 12. The TNT equivalent for these weapons is not realistic to estimate.. Possible blast coverage area error formed due to the particularly large amount of explosive material, if it is assumed TNT for the equivalent of twice the volume of fire. In addition, the data sources of the weapon system’s reported destroyed area values differ from each other so much that they cannot be reliable. Figure 12. TOS-1A [60]
  • 30. 5 WEAPON Suitability in Different Environments 5.1 Overview The thermobaric weapon is intended for precision work, unlike an aerosol that requires extensive large area demands due to its ignition complexity. Aerosol based weapons effectiveness is far beyond explosive blast weapons, so it is justified to think thermobaric weapons as more precision weaponry and more suitable fit for the urban battle. The great advantage of thermobaric weapons is the difficulty to protect from the pressure and thermal impact. It is difficult to protect against thermobaric weapons. According to the Defense Manual 1, open and enclosed areas do not provide protection against the pressure wave [58, p. 68]. Even if only part of the shockwave intrudes into area, the damage effect is intensified by the shock wave reflections off the back wall [2, pp. 32-33]. Protection against fragments can be done by adding clothing, enhancing environment protection or enhancing vehicle armor. The thermal heat wave can be minimize using fire resistant clothing. However, pressure waves cannot be completely avoided by improving equipment protection. The most important thing emphasized should be to avoid the construction of enclosed shelters and the reflection walls of structures. Need some sort of overpressure release valve such as blowout panels and roofs [18]. Helmet, hearing protection and body armor is a pressure-relieving effect from blast injury [59]. However, the pressure wave is difficult to protect from by using clearance in the protective clothing size. Furthermore, a study by the Swedish FOI found the soldiers as well as official’s uniforms to increase the number of injuries incurred from thermobaric weapons [18]. 5.2 Forest Terrain Thermobaric weapons pressure waves can penetrate foxholes from open entry holes. Therefore, even when protected from a blast event the personnel are at risk of the thermobaric explosion even though the they would be the bottom of a foxhole. In a blast based explosion, the explosion protection walls resistance determines protective value. Pressure wave front scans over a foxhole, penetrates the foxhole and part of the pressure wave reflects from the walls strengthening the destructive effect. However, compared to the urban environment there is less pressure for the front-wave reflections from walls, for example, in the absence of a roof, with the result that the reflection is considerably weaker. As was apparent from the reduction in effectiveness of RPG rockets when an explosion occurs outside the fortification [52], however, it becomes an important weapon against open holes in the fortification or against the effectiveness of the targets permeability. In the war of Afghanistan, Soviet soldiers could exploit dusts cloud generated by an explosion outside the object or a specially fired smoke screen that allowed the soldiers to reach a better fire position [60, p.256]. However, targeting defense structures required direct visual contact, for example the tunnel opening, which made it more difficult to use the weapon behind a smoke screen [60, p.256]. The increased use of RPO-A weapons increased the number of successful tasks and their own losses decreased, so the weapon could be effective. In the war in Afghanistan, however, the weapon had not yet been distributed to the troops [60, 255-258].
  • 31. The lethal effect produced by the shockwave alone must also consider the durability of the protecting structure, as the fighter may become trapped in a collapsing structure. A protective door would weaken an explosion outside, but when an explosion occurs inside a containment building, it will only increase the destructive impact. The greater the threat to the collapse of the protection structure is in the urban environment, protective structures built in the forests are not as large and affecting them from different directions is more difficult. When using an open area, theoretically, it is possible to be sure of the weapon's destruction area, as the pressure wave and thermal effect will not gain extra power compared to enclosed space. Choosing the right type of a thermobaric weapon can limit the blast area effect to a smaller extent than in many conventional aerosol attack weapons. However, the need to limit the destructive area is not as great as in an urban environment, where there may still be civilians in the nearby area. In the Defense Forces Manual there is no mention of thermobaric weapons, but the manual does speak of aerosol dispensers, which can be partially used as a fuel [11]. For thermobaric weapons, it is not characteristic to use multiple firings. The surrounding oxygen is used during the explosion and the thermal cloud remains momentary [6]. In addition, the RPO-A thermobaric version [35], differs from the RPO-Z incendiary version, which distinctly advertised ability to generate an incendiary effect, and the manufacturer advertised the weapon for the fire-fighting purpose. The Russians have reported that the thermobaric weapon is well suited for extinguishing fires [6].
  • 32. 5.3 Center of Settlement Over the past 30 years, thermobaric weapons have proven to be effective in urban conditions, where it is possible to go from normal habitats to more easily concealed [1; 6; 33; 60], Danger zone area protection from fragment impact show that structure for the soldier requires a greater distance than in an explosion in the open. Also, the required minimum volume of interior space increases rapidly. For this reason, protection must be improved either by isolating rooms or by building overpressure relief (blowout panels) that disengage pressure outside the building [18; 52]. When considering thermobaric weapons, other explosive weapons may be better to avoid by- stander victims. For other explosive weapons to achieve the same result, they use a much more powerful blast effect or target the object several times, for example, to destroy the inside of the building. When the enemy in Chechnya was not affected by the traditional impact on the urban environment, Russia resorted to the use of the thermobaric weapons that enabled the attack to proceed again [31, 4]. The Thermobaric Hand Grenade RG-60TB is effective in its area of destruction, but its danger area is smaller than with a normal hand grenade, which increases safety for the military using it [25; 26]. On the other hand, thermobaric weapons are much more effective in their destructive area and produce victims and it is more difficult to treat the victim than aerosol attacks. This means that when using thermobaric weapons, it must be certain that there are no civilians in the impacted area. It is up to the user whether he or she can relate the required force to that threat and use only RPO-A type weapons to destroy a target or use the TOS-1 caliber weapon that Russia used to destroyed entire villages in the Chechen war [33]. Through experience, US soldiers also learned to launch SMAWs in a certain way, causing roofs to collapse [1]. Pressure effect could be a good way to clear troops in the first floor of a building. As modern wars move more into cities, weapons based on pressure and thermal heat waves give the aggressor an advantage, for the defending party loses the benefits of ballistic protection, and hence the importance of advanced preparation is reduced. For the sake of the effectiveness of thermobaric weapons, it is argued that the parties that in the last 20 years in a struggle for urban centers have only been more willing to increase their use and development [26; 39].
  • 33. 6 Summary 6.1 Conclusions The Thermobaric weapon is a thermal heat and pressure wave explosive weapon that seeks to affect personnel, vehicles and equipment. In determining whether it is a thermobaric weapon or an aerosol, one way to make it easier to define, think about how much ignition complexity is needed to carry out an explosion. There is one contribution to a thermobaric weapon, ignition is not complex unlike an aerosol. Aerosol sprays with large warheads are mainly used for large regional areas, where the required concentration fuel/oxygen ratio for ignition is certain to occur. However, the TOS-1 is an exception and affects the general target area rather than the individual object. In this sense, the Russian terminology used by infantry is largely erroneous, since the weapons have been based on TOS-1, and have been singly fired. Consistent terminology would facilitate familiarization with the skill technology of professional personnel, and information retrieval would not be too difficult when the use of terms is not confusing. Thermobaric weapons produce damage by primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary means. The most dangerous and far most effective means is the primary effect of the shock wave causing damage by causing enormous compression forces in the body. Secondary injuries, which include the effect of various fragments, are considerably less, as the shell of the weapon has not been created to fragment. Tertiary injuries are causing damage as the weapon has been created, surrounding the structures, to dissipate pressure effects by use of the structures around the explosion, which is further emphasized in the urban environment. Quaternary injuries do not extend as much as previous types of injury, but combustion in the immediate vicinity of a thermobaric explosion depletes the use of oxygen making it extremely dangerous for the subject to breathe. It can be assumed that the weapon is very effective against objects close by, which is particularly suitable for fighting in urban environments where the distances are smaller than in forest land. The efficacy of the thermobaric weapon is based on the effective utilization of the pressure effect. The damage effect gains extra power if the explosion is triggered in a closed state because the smaller the space the more effectively the shock wave affects the target. The ability of the pressure head to affect the other side of structural barriers and the immediate reaction in the immediate vicinity will provide an effective impact on the affected area. Therefore, urban conditions are better suited to the efficient use of the weapon, since all the features of the explosion can be exploited.
  • 34. The safe distances calculated according to safety regulations are considerably higher than those declared for weapons. This is natural, but it says that the weapons are not as safe as advertised to the limited effect as claimed. We need to look at the safety of weapons more by comparing the danger zone with the fragment blast zone. In addition, the calculation method used to formulate TNT equivalents compared with the explosive efficiency has its own challenges. Also, when comparing safe distances, it should be considered when crossfire is used, a considerable amount of protective equipment is required for nearby personnel, as in the case of a blast fragment explosions, so the results cannot be directly compared to each other. Thermobaric weapons penetration values of steel armor have not been reported by infantry and their users have not been able to fire a weapon from just anywhere, for example, the gunman has had to fire through a window or opening to access closed fortifications. The thermobaric missile does not have a specific penetration for hard targets, and such explosion may interfere with the thermobaric process. In this case, the explosive is triggered outside the object, causing the damage to be considerably smaller than if the explosive penetrated inside the object. Hence, effective use of a weapon requires an opening to allow the explosive to be delivered to the enclosed space. Protection against the Thermobaric weapon is difficult, but by isolating different room spaces, designing overpressure release (blowout panels) in different parts of the building and minimizing the amount of oxygen, for example, from storage facilities, can reduce the impact of the weapon. Closing access to a structure can turn against itself if the aggressor is able to deliver the explosive inside the fortification. If future wars move into the urban environment, it is likely that the use of thermobaric weapons will increase further because of their effectiveness and their use is not limited by different agreements, for example CBRN weapon agreements. Therefore, it would be worthwhile to find out more about thermobaric weapon technology to reliably determine the kind of threat value that thermobaric weapons create. 6.2 Further Research Needs The study has highlighted clear terminology difficulties, the harmonization of which would clarify the handling of this technology in the Defense Forces Manual. In addition, the Handbook of Protection has been behind technological developments and would require updating so that professionals could more easily become familiar with the threat posed by thermobaric weapon systems and relate its own activities to better respond to it. For a more detailed performance assessment, more detailed information on the use of the explosive substance and more accurate calculation methods are needed, as the traditional TNT equivalent method most often underestimates performance. To determine the hazardous distance, it would have been possible to use the formulas used for EOD scanning to determine a deadly distance rather than a safe distance. Further research topics could take a increased study of thermobaric weapons, as the infantry weapons that are now being processed are of the lowest technology.
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